(CNN) - Republicans appeared to regain control of the New York State Senate Monday, convincing two Democrats to support a new power-sharing coalition.
State Sens. Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate from Queens, both Democrats, voted with Republicans 32 to 30 to make the move.
"For the past five months, state government has been characterized by gridlock, paralysis, secretiveness, threats and partisan politics – all to the detriment of the people represented by me and my 61 colleagues," Espada said in a statement.
"Today begins a new state government built on reform, bipartisanship and consensus- and coalition-building."
Espada and Monserrate pledged to remain Democrats, while supporting the new coalition.
The deal seems to remove the Democratic majority from leadership five months after it took control of the chamber for the first time in more than 40 years. It also propels Espada into the post of president pro tempore.
Republican Sen. Dean Skelos would become majority leader and vice president, replacing Malcolm Smith, a Democrat.
"This is despicable," said Gov. David Paterson. "Now every week, because the Senate is close between the two major parties and someone doesn't like what's going on, we change leadership?"
State Democrats said nothing had changed.
"This was an illegal and unlawful attempt to gain control of the Senate and reverse the will of the people who voted for a Democratic majority," said Austin Shafran, a Smith spokesman. "The real Senate majority is anxious to get back to governing, and will take immediate steps to get us back to work."
Well – let's hope that gridlock does disappear from NY state government. At first blush though, this appears to be a desperate ploy by the Republicans to put themselves in the limelight.
If Democrats did this, the media would call it reaching across the aisle.
To all the celebrating GOPers posting, the Pubbies have been in control of the NY state senate for 40 year until 4 months ago so all this "evil liberalism" you continually whine about happened on their watch and with their approval and consent. The NY governor when the decisions were made that are now plaguing state finances was one George Pataki, Republican.
Yep the Republican are bringing sweeping change to Albany. It's going right back to the bad old days of inept Republican governance and backroom deals bad for the people but good for greedy special interests.
Congrats! Stand up cheer! That's something to be proud of.
Those two senators should remember who elected them. The people in their districts, not the GOP strong arm artists. Maybe they will find their spine again at election time, or they can plan their retirement.
These 2 guys are toast in the next election.
Staging a coup by secretly coniving with only two Democrats is NOT 'reaching accross the aisle'!
Folks, these are politicians. They're looking out for number one – themselves – no one else.
What's more, this is the New York legislature we're discussing. They might start the morning talking, but soon enough they'll be yelling and shouting to be heard. And no one is doing any listening, which means, no matter who is in charge, that nothing will get done.
Sigh. Sort of sounds like legislatures around the country, including DC.