Senate Showdown Disappointingly Diffused

By and
This man is single-handedly holding your state government hostage. Photo: Getty Images

After over three hours of buildup outside the locked Senate Chamber doors in Albany, the brewing confrontation between Republicans, who hoped to convene a session today, and Democrats, who hoped to stop them, doesn't seem like it's come to pass. The reason appears to be Hiram Monserrate, who (along with Pedro Espada) rebelled and joined the Republican caucus on Monday in an attempt to shift power, but who is now expressing regret. According to Elizabeth Benjamin at the Daily News, Monserrate was in talks with Democrats this morning, but those broke down and he went back to meetings with the Republicans. Just now, he emerged from a conference room and addressed the assembled throng alongside Espada and Republican leader Dean Skelos. He assured the crowd that he was still caucusing with the GOP, but that he'd asked them to resume session tomorrow.

"He's taken a beating," Republican senator Dale Volker told New York. "People threatened him." According to reports, everything from the Working Families Party to SEIU/1199 to the Queens Democratic Party have tried to strong-arm Monserrate into rejoining the Democrats. Al Sharpton even held a rally in his district. There were no reports that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, who is a part of the borough Democratic machine, made any calls today, but it can't have been lost on Monserrate that Brown will be overseeing his fate in the case of his alleged slashing of his girlfriend, for which he has already been indicted.

"He's not wavering," Skelos insisted to the present reporters, who were very unruly by the time he, Espada, and Monserrate emerged. "Show us the keys!" one journalist shouted, apparently doubting that they'd have even been able to enter the Senate Chamber in the first place. Espada waved a set of keys before getting heckled even more. As the trio departed back to the conference room, a woman in a clown costume hooked up with them. "Can I join the circus with you?" she asked merrily. She turned out to be an employee of the New York Post.

Related: Our complete coverage of the Albany coup.