NEW YORK, Aug. 4 -- Radio shock-jock Howard Stern quit Thursday as the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of New York as brashly as he entered the race in March, explaining he will not comply with the state's financial disclosure requirement. He told his morning radio audience during a live press conference, 'For 25 hours a week I have told you everything about my life .... have any of the candidates told you their views on O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Sidney Biddle-Barrows? No, they haven't told you...But there's one fact I will never reveal. I have never told you how much money I have in the bank because it is none of your business.' Stern, a reputed millionaire, said when he entered the race, he thought financial disclosure requirements meant revealing what stocks you owned and with whom you did business to guard against possible conflicts of interest. But he said revealing his earnings would violate his contract with Infinity Broadcasting and his right to privacy as a celebrity talk show host. A State Supreme Court judge Tuesday disagreed, ruling that if Stern planned to continue in the race, he would have to make the disclosures. 'With much regret, I'm resigning from the campaign,' he said, and then quipped, 'but now I will run for Pope.' Although most people originally regarded Stern's candidacy as a publicity stunt, he won the Libertarian Party nomination and said recent polls showed he was garnering up to 20 percent of the vote.
Industry sources say Stern is worth nearly $10 million, with earnings from his syndicated radio show, sales of his autobiography 'Private Parts,' from his nightly show on the E! cable network, his Pay-Per-View specials and the marketing of video and audiotapes. Stern's platform consisted solely of three things: approving the death penalty in New York, adding more toll collectors on the highways and making sure road construction crews did all their work at night. 'I really wanted to be governor,' he said sincerely as the news conference ended. 'I captured the imagination of New York state.' New York state Libertarian Party Chairwoman Gail Bova said Stern had made the only decision he could have under the circumstances. 'We regret that the laws of New York state have so violated individual rights to privacy that Howard Stern has been forced to withdraw from his campaign for governor, Bova said. She said the party will quickly select a replacement candidate. 'We are confident that even without Mr. Stern that the ideas we stand for, of personal and economic liberty and freedom, will gain us the support we need to achieve our goal,' she said.