Paterson, David Alexander

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David Alexander Paterson, 1954–, American politician, the first African-American governor of New York (2008–11), b. Brooklyn, N.Y., grad. Columbia (B.A., 1977), Hofstra Law School (J.D., 1982). The son of labor lawyer and state political leader Basil Paterson, he has been visually impaired since infancy. A liberal Democrat, he was elected in 1985 to the New York state senate from Harlem, winning the seat long held by his father, and became senate minority leader in 2003. In 2006 he was the running mate of New York gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer and was elected lieutenant governor; when Spitzer resigned in 2008 after a sex scandal, Paterson succeeded him as governor.