Governor David Paterson’s ex-driver, David W. Johnson, is a top confidant

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Governor David Paterson was hit with round after round of rumors after a supposedly devastating New York Times profile was supposed to ruin his election bid and force his resignation.  Those rumors never panned out, but the Times has now published the offending piece and it could give Paterson some headaches as he launches his campaign:

David W. Johnson has worked for Gov. David A. Paterson for much of his adult life. He began as a young, ambitious intern from Harlem when Mr. Paterson was a state legislator. He rose to be Mr. Paterson’s driver, serving as a kind of protector and scheduler.

In recent months, however, Mr. Johnson’s ascent has been striking: he is now one of the most senior people in the governor’s administration, paid $132,000. He is described as Mr. Paterson’s closest confidant, a man with a designated room for his overnight stays in the Executive Mansion.

Besides detailing his inexperience, the profile says that Johnson also has an anger problem and has punched girlfriends.  One of Paterson’s signature initiatives is combatting domestic violence.  Paterson and supporters counter by pointing out that charges were never filed against him and that Johnson seems to be doing well with the responsibility on his shoulders despite his inexperience.

This profile might be a headache and a distraction for the governor, but it’s hardly the extravaganza the political establishment held its breath for.

Full story: Paterson’s Ex-Driver, David W. Johnson, Is a Top Confidant – NYTimes.com