Dick Grasso vs. Eliot Spitzer Gets a Bit More Likely

NEW YORK- JANUARY 16: Dick Grasso, Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, attends a luncheon at the Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project conference January 16, 2003 in New York City. The annual event, which was founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson six years ago, attracts business and political leaders in an attempt to combat economic racism in America. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Photo: Spencer Platt/2003 Getty Images

Until last night, the only signal that former New York Stock Exchange chief Dick Grasso wanted to run for mayor against his nemesis, Eliot Spitzer (who as attorney general sued Grasso over his $140 million compensation package), was a gossipy early-March Post column by Charles Gasparino. And even then, Gasparino noted that "[t]he Grasso-for-mayor notion is a longshot (Grasso, who didn't return a phone call, is known for playing practical jokes)." But maybe it's not quite as far-fetched after all. In a speaking appearance at Wagner College on Staten Island last night, Grasso basically guaranteed he would run if two conditions are met:

“If the man who really should be the mayor, the next mayor of the city of New York, the great police commissioner Ray Kelly, chooses not to run, and if my former adversary does run as an independent in 2013, I will run for mayor of the City of New York,” he said to loud applause.

Obviously, those are two big ifs. Kelly has been rumored to be interested in a mayoral run in the past (New York's Geoffrey Gray reported last year that before Mayor Bloomberg decided to go for the three-peat in 2009, Kelly met with Bob Dole's campaign manager to discuss a run of his own). But the post of FBI director is opening up in September, and Chuck Schumer has suggested Kelly would be perfect for it. According to DNAinfo's Murray Weiss, late of the Post, sources say the job "is [Kelly's] for the taking."

Then there's Spitzer, who is clearly interested in getting back into politics if his reputation recovers enough to allow it. The odd thing about Grasso's statement, though, is that he specifically says he'll run if Spitzer runs as an independent. Is that just because that's what he expects Spitzer to do, or is it another condition of Grasso's? (Presumably, if Spitzer ran as an independent, he would split the liberal vote with the Democratic nominee, giving Republican Grasso an easy win.) We'll just have to wait and see how everything plays about, but this is all very exciting.

Ex-Chairman of New York Stock Exchange May Run for Mayor [NYT]