ALBANY – Republicans seized control of the New York State Senate on Monday, in a stunning and sudden reversal of fortunes for the Democratic Party, which controlled the chamber for barely five months.

A raucous leadership fight erupted on the floor of the Senate around 3 p.m., with two Democrats, Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, joining the 30 Senate Republicans in a motion that would displace Democrats as the party in control.It was a noisy and acrimonious scene on the floor of the Senate as Senator Thomas W. Libous, a Republican from Binghamton and the party’s deputy leader, shouted for a roll-call vote, while Democrats attempted to stall the vote by asking to adjourn the session.

From Liz Benjamin at the Daily News:

An observer in the Senate chamber tells me Skelos was sitting in Smith’s chair with a BIG smile on his face and Smith was nowhere to be seen. The chamber has now emptied out and Republicans are talking about electing themselves to committee chairmanships.

Run, do not walk, to The Albany Project for more.

Updated: Coup not finalized? Yes, the Republicans and Democrats are busy fighting over custody of Hiram “The Slasher” Monserrate.

Also: Spitzer, who won’t go away, is loving the chaos and says it is good for us.

13 thoughts on “COUP!

  1. Josh S

    “Apparently Tom Golisano was on the scene…”

    I’m not one to tell people to move if they don’t like conditions here in NYS (the opposite actually…come back and fix it!), but one of the newest residents of Florida should be down there fighting his hurricane insurance premiums rather than messing with the State Senate.

  2. Robinia

    Doth it not remind thee more of the intrigues of the Courts of Kings than of a government that functioneth?

  3. Phil

    Great, the R’s recruited a thief and a spousal abuser to caucus with them (and apparently not change parties since R’s have no chance to win in the defector’s bluer-than-blue Assembly districts. How long will either of these bozos even hold on to their seats.

    Of course, the big question everyone working on substantive issues now faces is will ANY legislation get passed in the waning days of the term? I’m very much invested in the fight to get the Land Bank enabling legislation passed that Gov. Dipshit vetoed last term, due to intra-Democratic squabbling between Mayor Brown and Assemblyman Hoyt from Buffalo over the city of Buffalo and Erie County working together. Two other areas–hopefully Syracuse–have had to wait another year to get this thing going. Will it get anywhere this yeear? Who knows now?

    I can only imagine how the Gay Marriage folks feel right now–talk about dead as a doornail.

  4. Phil

    Oh, I thought California had stolen our legislature’s “Most Dysfunctional” title–we’re still #1, baby!

    I also forgot to mention that Land Banks enable the creation of governmental authorities to seize tax delinquent houses and drive re-development discussions in deteriorating low income cities where the private housing markets have essentailly collapsed.

  5. Ellen

    When my freshly installed (but under-gummed) NY inspection sticker started peeling off the windshield of my car, I sensed the Empire State did not have much time left. This only confirms my impression.

    I don’t know if gay marriage is any deader than it would have been (nor do I believe it’s dead). It’s not like the Dems were in a hurry to pass it.

  6. Aaron

    A wonderful quote a Twitterer I follow posted:

    “NYS Senate control returned to GOP which controlled it for 4 decades, by 2 senators under criminal indictment? Sounds like “reform” to me!”

    Note that the Republicans were all up in arms when both were indicted, but have now become silent as they fit their uses.

    You can nearly guarantee that regardless of how this shakes out, both will lose their primaries come 2010 by very, very large margins. Both are in deep blue districts (one is in one with only 6% Republican registration) and aren’t likely to care much for these antics.

  7. KAZ

    My favorite part: Should someone push Paterson in front of a bus, Espada takes over (he’s president pro tem of the revised Senate). So it really isn’t too much of an exaggeration to call this a coup.

  8. Forg

    I still cannot fathom that the GOP thinks that: 1.) They’ll be able to hold onto power for that long, never mind after an election cycle. And 2.) This won’t quickly come back and bite them in the rear.

    I have yet to see anyone – except the GOP of course – consider this a good move. Now any sort of delay in regards to any law/topic/project/funding, whether it’s consequential or not, can (and will) be laid at the doorstep of this GOP “Coalition”. Based upon the new rules they immediately set down I can only guess they know this might not last for that long and they did this just to cut off alot of the majority party’s power in the Senate, putting the GOP on slightly more solid footing.

    But consider, the GOP, already smarting from a fair number of issues (to be fair the Democrats aren’t pure either), got two power hungry and scandal laden Democrats (who already tried a power play within their own party) on their side. Gee how long before these two try to grab even more power, or even worse, play the GOP off against the Democrats? I can already see them trying to dangle influence and money over the Democrats’ head in order to try to solidify their position. Which, in this pork saturated legislature, sadly could work.

    I have no idea what those two Democrats were thinking (besides ‘me want power’). Even if by some miracle the GOP survives with the same number of seats – never mind if they themselves survive without the Democrat party support – after the next election, do they really believe Skelos and the other GOP are going to continue to allow them all the influence and power they currently have?

  9. Robinia

    Aaron, that is a great tweet, and I intend to use it and give you credit, since the tweeter is not named.

    Kaz, I didn’t think through that far. Blech. Paterson should be very wary of hookers he doesn’t know really well– in case he isn’t already.

    And, Forg, I think the two crooks are doing something akin to plea-bargaining– less jail, more cash, and an early exit from the scene.

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