clinton.thumbnail.jpgIt looks very much as if Hillary’s going to be offered Secretary of State, which would leave a bit of a hole in the New York delegation. A reliable beltway conventional wisdom source says there’s a frontrunner to fill it

3-1: Thomas Suozzi. Suozzi is known nationally (to the extent he is known at all) as the guy who ran a quixotic primary challenge against soon-to-be-governor Eliot L. Spitzer (D) in 2006. With two years of hindsight, however, Suozzi, the Nassau County executive, looks better and better.

Well. About that. Leaving aside the humorous thought that our friend at the Washington Post was put off Mr. Suozzi by his run at Spitzer, I take some issue with the use of the term "quixotic" to describe it – unless, of course, it’s meant to express "as the tool of an investment banker who resented Spitzer’s attempt to clean up Wall Street".

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s challenger for the state’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination received hundreds of thousands of dollars from people with ties to Home Depot Inc. founder Kenneth Langone, a registered Republican and target of a Spitzer lawsuit.

Langone, a defendant in Spitzer’s suit over ousted New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso’s retirement pay, supports Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi for governor. Suozzi’s campaign received at least $300,000 from Langone, his wife, Elaine, and two adult sons, and present and former business and charity group associates, Suozzi campaign records on the state Board of Election Web site showed.

“I’ve found a substantial number in the business community inside and outside New York who feel that Spitzer as governor wouldn’t be friendly to business,” Langone said in a Jan. 12 interview. Earlier that day, he had a lunch with 15 business associates, nine of whom promised to help Suozzi, Langone said.

An examination of campaign records found Suozzi’s donors include Home Depot Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Nardelli, who gave $16,200. Walter Buckley, an original Home Depot shareholder and his wife, Marjorie, contributed $32,000. Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus and his wife, Billi, gave $32,000, while Steven Holzman, who Langone named in 2001 as chief executive of his Invemed Associates LLC, donated $16,000.

Lest you think that former mayoral, PAC and presidential Giuliani fundraiser Langone’s only interest in opposing Spitzer was a principled disagreement about the whether corruption, mismanagement and self-serving amongst executives in the financial sector were healthy business practices, well, not so much

As Congressman Rangel pointed out at the time

…I read with great displeasure the comments of your number one financial backer, Ken Langone, who a few days ago stated: "I can’t tell you how critical it is that we preserve and protect the Republican majority in the House of Representatives and as well in the Senate. This is not a time to turn the asylum over to the inmates."

I find it hard to reconcile this statement with your comments in the past that Ken Langone is "a good man" and that you are "proud of his support." As the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee I hope to one day represent this state as its Chairman. It is your lead and most public fundraiser who has dedicated resources to making sure that people like me do not assume these important leadership roles and that we as Democrats do not take back the House. If the Democrats take back the House, it will not be "inmates" in charge, but people who care about the core values of justice, fairness and equality.

Some of us believe that the Republican party has taken our State of New York, as well as our nation, in the wrong direction. I certainly thought that you were one of us.

Suozzi, for his part, said that Langone and his friends were donating to him knowing that he didn’t support their political goals, so that was OK (this was also, one imagines, the deal Langone had with our senior Senator, Mr. Schumer). Schumer was a supporter in Suozzi’s gubernatorial bid.

Suozzi does have other friends – his dad is a partner in a legal firm with Clinton revenant Harold Ickes and Governor Paterson’s dad. Former Managing Partner William Cunningham (who Suozzi supported in a recent race for Suffolk Country Executive) was appointed as Secretary to the Governor earlier this month. That – along with race, gender and religion – seems to be the sort of thing people are considering while they wargame this.

It might also be worth considering whose side he was by before the bubble burst.