2007_02_dinapoli.jpgThe first battle is over, and Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver has dealt Governor Eliot Spitzer his first defeat. The Democratic-led Assembly selected one of its own, Assemblyman Thomas DiNapoli, to be State Comptroller. Spitzer had recommended three non-lawmaker candidates in the past weeks, but Silver and other Democrats were upset that the panel didn't include their choices. So, proving that politics is beyond any sort of rhyme or reason, the Assembly reneged on a deal with Spitzer to publicly vote for a new comptroller, rejected the other candidates and just picked their own. Way to have Democratic solidarity! (Of course, the Dems would argue that Spitzer reneged on a deal to have five contenders.)

Who is DiNapoli? The Post has a crib sheet, noting that DiNapoli doesn't have many investments. (Keep in mind, the State Comptroller controls the NY State pension fund which is about $145 billion, though some say not to worry if the Comptroller has no investment experience.) Fun fact: DiNapoli was the youngest person in state government when he was on the Mineola Board of Education at age 18.

Check out Spizter's letter to lawmakers to honor the comptroller selection agreement (If you choose not to select one of the three designated candidates for Comptroller, you will be sending a clear message that the three individuals found most qualified for the position are being rejected for one reason only – because they are not sitting members of the Legislature.). And the Politicker noted this hilarious description of DiNapoli from Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benjamin's press relase: "In fact, for an Assemblymember, Tom is quite articulate, clean and well-dressed."