Rebel Democratic state senator Pedro Espada has announced today that he will rejoin the Democratic team and therefore break the 31–31 stalemate (which he could have done all along had he not insisted so stubbornly on being named president of the Senate in any power-sharing deal). Less than a day after Governor Paterson announced his appointment of a lieutenant governor to achieve that exact end, Espada claims that he’s saving the day. (Of course — not that you need to be reminded — it was Espada who got us into this mess in the first place by defecting to the GOP team.) Espada told the Post he has a “handshake agreement” with Democratic leader John Sampson to “become the majority leader.”
As part of the plan, Malcolm Smith, the current “majority leader” (according to the Dems), would be allowed to remain president of the Senate for the rest of the year, at which point he’d be replaced by Sampson. “Unfortunately, Dean rejected an opportunity to reach a compromise under which Republicans would have had equal access to all the resources of the Senate,” Espada added. He’d hoped to remain Senate president and install his fellow Democratic “Amigo” Carl Kruger as Senate majority leader.
Espada is, of course, an unreliable and inconsistent ally, one whom the Democrats are likely extremely wary of welcoming back. This whole process has amounted to a grand power play on his part, and several Democrats have said they will not accept his return because of his behavior, and because of the multiple state investigations he’s currently under.
Espada’s fellow “Amigos,” Ruben Diaz Sr., Hiram Monserrate, and Carl Kruger, had predicted that they would together be able to resolve the Senate stalemate by today. But this “resolution” doesn’t take into consideration the fact that Paterson’s lieutenant-governor appointee, Dick Ravitch, will be president of the Senate if his nomination passes legal muster. Paterson has yet to make a statement on this development, and the Republicans have canceled a press conference they’d scheduled for this afternoon.
Deadlock-Ending Deal Near? Espada To Return To The Democrats [NYDN]
SEN. ESPADA RETURNING TO DEMOCRATS [NYP]
Related: For an in-depth look at Pedro Espada’s rutheless quest for power, check out Chris Smith’s profile from this week’s New York.