When Governor Eliot Spitzer selected Republican State Senator Michael Balboni to head up the state’s version of the Department of Homeland Security many people, myself included, gave the newly elected governor credit for reaching across the aisle and choosing the best man for the job, regardless of party identification.
Democratic State Senator Eric Schneiderman (pictured), who represents parts of Manhattan and The Bronx, sees it differently. Many have speculated privately that Spitzer choose Balboni as part of a greater scheme, putting a competitive State Senate seat into play for the Democrats and potentially moving that body’s minority party one step closer to the majority. Schneiderman is willing to say so publicly, as he did in a release sent late Friday night announcing his endorsement of Democrat Craig Johnson for the seat.
“This strategic move on the
part of Governor Spitzer shows how strong his desire is to take back the State
Senate from the Republican Majority that has controlled it for over 70 years,” said
Schneiderman in the release, referencing Balboni’s appointment as the State’s
Deputy Secretary for Public Safety and Security. “With his support, we have a
real chance of taking back this seat, which means we would be a mere two seats
away from taking the majority.”