From NBC's Chris Donovan
Just in case Gov. Eliot Spitzer at any point does end up resigning, here's a little nugget about the history that would be made with Lt. Gov. David Paterson taking office:
IF David Paterson, who is also legally blind, is sworn in, he would become the first African-American governor of New York, but also only the FOURTH African-American governor of a U.S. state in history. Of the previous three, two of the governors were elected (Deval Patrick and Douglas Wilder) and one ascended from his position as lieutenant governor because of scandal (P.B.S. Pinchback).
- Gov. Deval Patrick (Massachusetts) became governor in January 2007 after being elected in November 2006; he is currently the only African American to serve as governor of a U.S. state.
- Gov. Douglas Wilder (Virginia) became governor in January 1990 after being elected in November 1989; he was the first African American to be elected governor.
- Gov. Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback (Louisiana) became the first African-American governor in American history in December 1872; he was the president of the state senate and took over the job as lieutenant governor when the occupant of that office died in 1871, and then a year later he became governor after then-governor Henry Clay Warmoth was impeached and suspended; Pinchback served for five weeks between December 1872 and January 1873, at which time Warmoth's term expired
Here is Paterson's official bio:
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR DAVID A. PATERSON
DAVID A. PATERSON David A. Paterson was elected New York's 74th Lieutenant Governor on November 7, 2006. As Lieutenant Governor, Paterson leads the administration's charge in several critical areas. He focuses on stem cell research, alternative energy, reducing domestic violence, and increasing the role minority- and women-owned businesses play in New York State. Governor Spitzer chose Paterson to be his running mate because Paterson had a strong record of championing issues such as these for over the two decades he served in the New York State Senate.
Throughout a long career in public service, Lieutenant Governor Paterson has demonstrated an ability to effect change at every level and has been a strong progressive leader for all New Yorkers. Lieutenant Governor Paterson entered public life in 1985 when he began representing Harlem in the New York State Senate. In 2002, he became its Minority Leader -- the first non-white legislative leader in New York's history. He made history again in 2004 when he became the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention. And in 2006 Mr. Paterson was elected New York's first African-American lieutenant governor.
Lieutenant Governor Paterson, who is legally blind, is nationally recognized as a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired. He is a member of the American Foundation for the Blind, serves as a member of the Democratic National Committee and is a board member of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. In addition, he is a member of the board of the Achilles Track Club, having completed the New York City Marathon in 1999.
Lt. Governor Paterson was born May 20,1954 in Brooklyn, NY to Portia and Basil Paterson, the first non-white secretary of state of New York and the first African-American vice-chair of the national Democratic Party. The Lt. Governor earned his bachelor's degree in History from Columbia University, graduating in 1977, and completed his J.D. at Hofstra Law School in 1982. He continues to give back to his alma mater by serving as an adjunct professor at Columbia's School for International and Public Affairs. David Paterson lives in Harlem with his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, and their two children, Ashley and Alex. Ashley entered Ithaca College in fall, 2006, and Alex, attends public school in New York City.