“He wants back into public life and this is the first real opportunity,” explained Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant based in New York. “He can win because he has a name, dough, and looks like the expert in a financial position.”

Prior to the Spitzer announcement, the race was seen as a sure thing for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Stringer, who opted for the comptroller race after publicly mulling a run for mayor, has the backing of much of the NYC political establishment; in the wake of the Spitzer news, a number of mayoral hopefuls including New York City Council Speaker Chris Quinn and NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio affirmed their support for Stringer’s candidacy.

That establishment backing will play right into Spitzer’s hands, according to a longtime New York political hand. “He will run as the scourge of Wall Street and as an outsider with real accomplishments and try to paint Stringer as a hack with few accomplishments,” said the source. “Yes, he can win.”

The other factor in the race that works in Spitzer’s favor is his personal wealth.