Spitzer and Silver

Now that the Democratic State Party Chairman is stepping down, the chatter turns to the Democratic leader with the real juice: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

There seems little doubt that he’ll be butting heads with Eliot Spitzer before long, probably on a range of issues.

One hypothetical worth pondering, then, is whether a move to replace Silver is a likely — or even practical — option for Spitzer to pursue should things get really bad.

A (very) random sampling of opinion among still-giddy Democratic officials today seemed to indicate that a coup is the farthest thing from their minds.

“I’ve been in Spitzer’s company and Silver’s company at private events,” Brooklyn Democratic County Leader, Vito Lopez told me just now. “Both expressed support for each other…I believe that they will maintain a good working relationship.”

Another Democratic Assemblymember I talked to said that there were no obvious signs yet that Spitzer had any designs on replacing Silver. (Note: There wasn’t much warning when governor-elect George Pataki ousted the then-Senate Majority Leader Ralph Marino during the Thanksgiving holiday).

The early test over their relations will likely depend on two issues:

The budget process, which Spitzer promised to make more transparent (specifically member items), while settling and paying for the CFE school funding lawsuit (a few billion dollars), all without raising taxes.

And, of course, governmental reform.

I’m sure the Silver-Spitzer relationship will be just one of the many conversations people have at the important policy conference starting tomorrow in Puerto Rico.

In the meantime — any predictions?

– Azi Paybarah