Republicans appear to have retaken control of the state Senate this afternoon after two dissident Democrats crossed the aisle in a parliamentary coup.I have to question what the GOP is thinking here. You really want to be associated with the likes of Hiram Monserrate?
"An historic change in leadership is taking place at this moment and a new bipartisan, coalition is being established that is bringing real reform to the Senate RIGHT NOW," according to a news advisory sent out by the GOP.
The Associated Press reported that two Democrats -- Hiram Monserrate of Queens and Pedro Espada, Jr. of the Bronx -- are poised to announce that they have decided to caucus with the GOP out of anger at Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith.
The flip gives Republicans a 32-30 edge in the chamber and ensures that Smith is longer the majority leader.
Espada, meanwhile, at least didn't (allegedly) whack his girlfriend upside the head with a beer bottle. He's only taking heat for some financial chicanery.
Democrats, naturally, are outrageously outraged.
Democrats said they plan to take the fight to court.In no small irony, today's coup looks like it was hatched by newly-minted Florida resident Tom Golisano.
In a statement sent out by Smith's office, a spokesman called the move "illegal and unlawful"
"Nothing has changed, Senator Malcolm A. Smith remains the duly elected Temporary President and Majority Leader," the spokesman added. "The real Senate Majority is anxious to get back to governing, and will take immediate steps to get us back to work."
Rochester-area billionaire Tom Golisano apparently helped lead today’s coup in the Senate, emerging from the chamber after the vote.
Golisano has been critical of Senate Democrats since they took control in January, even after Golisano pumped millions into the Democrats bid to win control of the chamber in November.