Gov. David Paterson, D-New York, launched a bid for his own term Saturday. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - Embattled New York Gov. David Paterson formally kicked off a bid for his own gubernatorial term Saturday, vowing to prove political observers wrong who say he has little chance at escaping a Democratic primary.
“So many people are saying I shouldn’t run for governor,” Paterson said at a rally at New York's Hofstra University, where he obtained his law degree. “But you need to know that this is a governor that does not quit.”
"The politicians and pundits…they want to know how you are doing in antiseptic polls before a campaign has even been run and they want to know how much money you've collected from the special interests and the Albany insiders," Paterson continued. "Well here's a news flash for the media: The special interests don't like me."
Watch excerpts of Paterson's speech after the jump
Recent polls suggest Paterson lags nearly 40 points behind his likely primary opponent, state Attorney Gen. Andrew Cuomo. Paterson is also at a significant financial disadvantage with $3 million cash-on-hand compared to Cuomo's $16 million, according to The New York Times. Cuomo, the son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, has yet to formally say if he will challenge Paterson.
During the 20-minute speech in front of supporters, Paterson also denounced what he described as a recent smear campaign from "tabloid newspapers."
"This governor is not going to quit because tabloid newspapers print rumors and innuendo and lies all the time waving the banner of a newspaper that could have cleared up the facts and chose not to do so," he said.
The comments are an apparent reference to a Times article published Friday painting the governor as an aloof and unpredictable executive who has often chosen cocktail parties and other social functions over his gubernatorial duties. Paterson's office strongly denied the article's allegations Friday morning.
"By the way, this is not a John McCain campaign strategy, this is an American trying out for justice as any American placed in this position would have," added Paterson, in a reference to the McCain campaign's sharp criticisms of the media's coverage - particularly that of The New York Times - during the Arizona senator's 2008 presidential bid.
Paterson took office in March 2008 after then-Gov. Elliot Spitzer resigned amid a sex scandal.