Sheldon Silver Backs John Liu Against Tony Avella

Speaker Shelly Silver and John Liu at the Democratic Convention. (Photo: Twitter John C. Liu- @LiuNewYork)

Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver and John Liu at the Democratic Convention. (Photo: Twitter/@LiuNewYork)

MELVILLE– As John Liu prepares to launch his campaign against State Senator Tony Avella, he can count on the support of one of the most powerful men in Albany.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon offered a full-throated endorsement of Mr. Liu’s bid today as the former comptroller and mayoral contender stood nearby.

“Go, man, go,” Mr. Silver said to Mr. Liu at the State Democratic Party Convention.

Mr. Silver said he thought Mr. Liu, who is set to kick off his bid tomorrow, would be an asset in the state legislature.

“John Liu is a friend of mine for many years. He’s a great public servant and New York State would be greatly benefited by his election,” Mr. Silver told the Observer. “We have the best in John Liu. That’s what I’m about. I want the best man.”

Mr. Silver’s endorsement doesn’t necessarily comes as a surprise. State Senate Democrats are already boosting Mr. Liu’s bid and Mr. Liu is incredibly popular with Asian-Americans, who are a large demographic in Mr. Silver’s Lower East Side district.

For his part, Mr. Liu, whose campaign for mayor last year sunk amid campaign finance allegations, appeared amused and slightly worried by Mr. Silver’s early endorsement.

“No, don’t quote anything yet!” he told Mr. Silver, as reporters hovered. “No, don’t tell them anything yet, we’ll do it another time.”

In a rare show of emotion, Mr. Silver told Democrats at a breakfast this morning that they would retake control of the State Senate from a breakaway group of Democrats who govern the chamber with the Republican Party. Mr. Avella joined the group earlier this year.