WASHINGTON – The news barely had broken that Eliot Spitzer was alleged to have been a client of a high-dollar prostitution ring when New York Republicans and others on Monday called on the Democratic governor to resign.
"The governor of New York should immediately resign from office and allow the people of New York to pursue honest leadership," Nick Ayers, executive director of the Republican Governors Association said in a statement. "The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians. The governor of New York is just another in the long list of politicians that have failed their constituents."
"I'm not one who likes to pile on someone for personal failures or personal tragedy, but in Eliot Spitzer's case, I never met anyone who was more self-righteous or more unforgiving of others than Eliot spider. That's why you're going to see, I don't think, anyone coming to his defense in this case," Long Island Rep. Peter King told FOX News.
Spitzer, a Democrat, was expected to tender his resignation to the General Assembly as early as Monday night, sources told FOX News. The action would follow reports that the first-term governor was caught on wiretap arranging a meeting with a prostitute from the Emperors Club VIP. Four alleged leaders of the ring were arrested last week.
"It's shocking," former Sen. Al D'Amato, R-N.Y., said of the news. "You're talking about someone who has a distinguished career first as a prosecutor in Manhattan, and then as an attorney general in law enforcement, and so obviously, you are taken aback."
D'Amato also said he believed Spitzer had to resign.
"To stay on, I think would just, gosh, absolutely keep the place in turmoil. I don't think there's any way that he can stay on for any period of time. He's doing the right thing by getting out sooner rather than later -- doing the right thing for himself and for his family," D'Amato said.
Spitzer was an aggressive prosecutor on the trail of white-collar criminals, but rubbed many the wrong way since taking the governor's office slightly more than a year ago. In addition to a failed proposal that would have given driver's licenses to some illegal immigrants, Spitzer also found himself in troubled water after his aides were accused of misusing state police to compile travel records to embarrass New York state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno.
Bruno, a Republican, spoke briefly to reporters outside his office in Albany on Monday, saying it is an unfortunate situation and he feels badly for the governor, his wife and children. He did not respond to reporters' questions of whether Spitzer should resign.
If Spitzer does quit, the likely incoming governor would be Lt. Gov. David Paterson, also a Democrat. King said Paterson is the polar reverse of Spitzer.
Paterson is "a thoroughly decent person. I don't know of anyone who has anything bad to say about David Paterson. He is a guy who has just over come an awful lot," King said of the black, blind politician who appears at the cusp of taking charge of New York's government.
"He's really very much the opposite of Eliot Spitzer," King continued.
Political science professor Larry Sabato, speaking with FOX News, said that even as Spitzer's resignation appeared imminent, the political climate in the United States had changed drastically enough in which a scenario could allow Spitzer to maintain office.
"Fifteen years ago, Governor Spitzer would have been out of town by sundown, but now the standards are very, very different," said Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.
But, he added, "If you're going to build your career around fighting corruption, you better make sure you're not corrupt yourself."
Some officials have remained in office following serious indiscretions. President Clinton survived impeachment after being found to have lied about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, remains in office following a guilty plea he entered last year after police said he was trying to solicit sex in an airport men's bathroom.
Asked about Spitzer's misfortune, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democratic presidential candidate who was endorsed by Spitzer, wished his family well, but did not comment further.