New Security Czar?

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A very knowledgeable reader called in to tell me that Eliot Spitzer is expected to announce the appointment of state Senator Michael Balboni as head of ….

I’m waiting to hear back from Balboni, but my source said it’s a done deal.

Appointing a Republican to such a high-profile post would obviously be a big statement by the incoming governor, who repeatedly promised set aside partisan differences during his reformist campaign. And while Balboni is no technocrat, his qualifications for the post definitely look better than, say, Golan Cipel’s. He heads the senate committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs.

But the move is interesting, as well, from the perspective of raw politics. Appointing Balboni would open up a state senate seat that Democrats could pick up. In Nassau’s 7th District, Balboni won re-election pretty easily this year, but the voter registration in the district runs Democratic by a couple thousand. One more Democratic pickup in the Senate might make Spitzer’s homeland in Albany just a little more secure.

More info, anybody?

— Azi Paybarah

New Security Czar?