DiNapoli elected New York Comptroller

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

There was a big political defeat on Wednesday for Governor Eliot Spitzer. The New York Assembly chose one of their own, Thomas DiNapoli, as the next comptroller to replace Alan Hevesi.

The vote came despite strong opposition from Mr. Spitzer.

The vote wrapped up late Wednesday, and it was 151 for DiNapoli and 54 for the other finalist, one of three backed by the governor.

The state legislature basically told Spitzer to butt out, and the governor is livid saying today's vote is further evidence of all that's wrong with Albany.

For Spitzer, it's been a rollercoaster these last 24 hours: a big win last night in the Nassau County Senate race where he campaigned for the winner Democrat Craig Johnson.

Then today when the state legislature ignored his demands to choose an outsider as state comptroller. Instead, lawmakers chose one of their own -- Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli of Nassau County.

In a raucous vote late Wednesday, the state assembly and senate met in a rare joint session to choose who would replace Alan Hevesi, who stepped down last month in a scandal over using state workers to chauffeur his wife and run personal errands.

The assembly wanted their own guy -- DiNapoli. But an outside panel included City Finance Commissioner Martha Stark as a finalist. The governor had pushed for anybody from outside Albany, including Stark, saying it would ensure integrity and help clean up a legislature that some call laughable.

Despite 54 legislators who backed Stark and the governor, it was obvious fairly early DiNapoli would win big.

"We have just witnessed the insiders game of safe dealing that unfortunately confirms every New Yorker's worst fear and image of all that goes on in the Legislature of this state," Spitzer said.

DiNapoli takes over immediately, running a state pension system worth about $151 billion dollars.

Now usually we see after a defeat like today politicians say things like let's forget this and put aside our differences. But not from Spitzer. He is angry about today's vote and calls it a huge mistake.

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