David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) is an American politician and member of the Democratic Party who served as the 55th governor of New York, succeeding Eliot Spitzer and serving out nearly three years of Spitzer's term from March 2008 to the end of 2010. He is the first legally blind person to be sworn in as governor of a U.S. state, and is the first African American to serve as governor of New York.
Following his graduation from Hofstra Law School, Paterson worked in the District Attorney's office of Queens County, New York, and on the staff of Manhattan borough president David Dinkins. In 1985, he was elected to the New York State Senate to a seat once held by his father, former New York secretary of state Basil Paterson. In 2003, he rose to the position of Senate minority leader. Paterson was selected to be the running mate of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 New York gubernatorial election. Spitzer and Paterson were elected with 65% of the vote, and Paterson took office as lieutenant governor on January 1, 2007.
After Spitzer resigned in the wake of a prostitution scandal, Paterson was sworn in as governor of New York state on March 17, 2008. Paterson launched a campaign for a full term as governor in the 2010 New York gubernatorial election, but announced on February 26, 2010, that he would bow out of the race. During the final year of his administration, Paterson faced allegations of witness tampering, soliciting improper gifts, and making false statements; he was eventually fined for having lied under oath. Since leaving office, Paterson has been a radio talk show host and served as chairman of the New York Democratic Party from May 2014 to November 2015. In late 2020, Paterson released his first book Black, Blind, & In Charge: A Story of Visionary Leadership and Overcoming Adversity.