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Governor Pataki Undecided on Removing Hevesi from Office

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – It appears Governor George Pataki will be waiting for the results of Tuesday's elections before making a decision on dealing with the scandal that surrounds democratic state comptroller Alan Hevesi.

Pataki made appearances in Western New York Monday in support of GOP candidates. He appeared on behalf of Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds, as well as Hevesi's Republican opponent Christopher Callaghan. In the midst of his Democratic campaign for re-election, Hevesi admitted to using a state chauffeur for his wife. In a public statement, he said he made a "mistake," he is sorry and offers no excuses.

Over this past weekend, a special counsel released a report saying Hevsei knowingly and intentionally violated state law. But that report did not recommend how the Governor should proceed. Pataki addressed questions about the matter Monday, but could not say if Hevesi would be asked to leave office.

Despite the scandal, Hevesi is ahead in the latest poll. He leads Callaghan by 12 percentage points. But Callaghan says he doubts voters will support Hevesi in the wake of this ethical issue.

Democrats, who have been quick to criticize and demand answers from Reynolds on the Mark Foley e-mail scandal, are appearing low key when it comes to the Hevesi chauffeur scandal. Erie County Democratic Chairman Len Lenihan says they continue to support Hevesi's re-election bid. Democratic candidate for governor, Eliot Spitzer pulled his endorsement, while US Senator Hillary Clinton said she still plans to cast a vote for Hevesi.

A request by WBFO News to interview Hevesi was not answered.