NEW YORK — Controversial radio announcer Howard Stern, one of the most listened-to men in America, announced his candidacy for governor of New York Wednesday, promising to resign quickly if elected so “I can get on with my career.”
“Shock jock” Stern, whose morning talkshow is No. 1 in about a dozen big U.S. cities, told a news conference he wanted to do only three things if elected — restore the death penalty in the state, add more token-takers on toll roads and have highway construction crews work at night “so I can get to work easier.”
Stern, whose locker-room humor has led to millions of dollars in fines by the Federal Communications Commission, said his slogan would be: “A volt for every vote.”
The “volt” was a reference to the electric chair that Stern says he wants to see restored in the state, not only for people who commit murders but people who shoot at policemen and for those who commit such offenses as statutory rape.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo is a strong opponent of the death penalty and has vetoed efforts to restore it.
Stern said he would seek the nomination of the Libertarian party which has 600 members and urged his fans to become members of the party for $ 15 each so they could go to its April convention in Albany and vote for him.
A party spokesman said that Stern would have to receive two-thirds of the votes at the convention, which drew about 200 people the last time it was held.
The spokesman, party vice chairman Joseph Brennan, said Libertarians were delighted with the interest Stern has shown in the party, although Stern said that if the Republicans wanted him he would drop the party in a flash.
The Libertarians received about 25,000 votes in the last election, and some political experts thought a Stern candidacy could double that number and even act as a spoiler factor in a close race between Cuomo, who is seeking re-election, and whoever wins the Republican nomination.
Stern insisted he was a serious candidate even as he scattered scatological comments about himself at a press conference at his radio station.
He said he would need only a few days or weeks to put his modest program into effect and then would resign so that his lieutenant governor could take over the state and he could continue with his show business career. “I know I am not qualified to run a government,” he said.