Think of It as Job Creation: Machiavellian Spitzer Opens, Closes Senate Vacancies

As we have mentioned, there was a State Senate election last night in Suffolk County, and Democrat Craig Johnson defeated Republican Maureen O'Connell. Since Long Island is historically pretty GOP-py (Johnson will be the first Democrat it sends to Albany in twenty years), Spitzer is trumpeting the win as yet another pass of the ole steamroller over Joe Bruno–led Republican majority. That's all fine and good, but it doesn't answer our foremost burning question: Why the hell are we having elections now?

Well, interestingly enough, the sudden Senate vacancy is not only Spitzer's own doing, but also a direct consequence of his most outwardly bipartisan move. The governor-elect had pulled the county's previous senator, Republican Michael Balboni, out of the seat when he appointed Balboni his new security chief. Having thus appeased some of the GOP majority, Spitzer then gleefully set about reducing that very majority: personally stumping for Johnson as Balboni's replacement, taping ads for him, and co-financing his costly campaign. Genius.

Democrat Wins Senate Seat on Long Island [NYT]