Exclusive: A Challenge for Shelly?

After Shelly Silver killed the West Side Stadium, there was a quick round of muttering that Bloomberg would take his revenge by supporting a challenger in Silver’s Lower Manhattan district.

That speculation dissolved when nobody could name a serious challenger.

But now, The Politicker hears, Bloomberg’s circle has a favorite: City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez.

Lopez is now running for Manhattan Borough President, but if she doesn’t make it through that crowded field, it’s easy to see Bloomberg would backing a woman he’s long had a personal liking for. She’s also shown her political strength against Shelly by beating his chief-of-staff, Judy Rapfogel, in a 1997 Council race.

In a quick interview this morning, Lopez said she returns the affection — “He is truly, truly a gentleman,” she said — but called the suggestion she would run against Silver “ludicrous.”

“If people would like to challenge the leadership of the State of New York, people should do it themselves,” she said.

Lopez added that she and Bloomberg never talk politics. They talk issues, and they talk about their personal lives.

“Sometimes we talk about Diana Taylor, his partner,” she said.