Finally, Thomas DiNapoli is no longer the "unelected comptroller," as his opponent's campaign ads said over and over.

"It is a great honor for me to be the people's choice for New York State comptroller," DiNapoli told a wee-hours crowd of Democrats at a Sheraton ballroom in Manhattan early Wednesday after his come-from-behind victory over a better-financed Republican challenger, Harry Wilson.

Wilson had won endorsements from most of the state's major newspapers and blanketed the airwaves with ads bashing "Albany Tom."

With Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at his side, DiNapoli said the lesson of the election is that "it's not only about the polls, the pundits or even the papers, for that matter - it is about the people."

Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, never endorsed DiNapoli, which some Democrats attributed to DiNapoli's ties to Silver. Silver's power over Albany is seen as Cuomo's greatest obstacle.