The Power of Silver

A few weeks ago, in the course of reporting a story about Albany’s “three men in a room” dynamic, Tom Suozzi suggested to me that he he had become increasingly “encouraged” by Eliot Spitzer’s intentions of cleaning up Albany because of his refusal to bend on the “Hevesi thing.”

Well the Alan Hevesi thing is still around, and it increasingly looks like a power struggle between Spitzer and his fellow Democrat in the room, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver.

I spoke to one astute Assembly Democrat today who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because, well, do you really want to start the session off making an enemy out of Spitzer or Silver?

The member’s take is that the longer Hevesi stays in office, the more it emboldens Silver.

“He is Hevesi’s strongest backer, and if Hevesi stays he has a powerful ally in the comptroller’s office, one who is of course not very happy with Spitzer.”

In other words, it’s an old-fashioned Albany power play.

“As it relates to this particularly move, I think the Speaker has the upper hand.”

“Either Hevesi survives — in which case Shelly is dramatically empowered — or Hevesi does not make it and the legislature and Shelly get to appoint his replacement.”

And what about Spitzer’s much-discussed popular mandate?

“There is always room to maneuver on the margins.”

–Jason Horowitz