June 9th, 2009
09:46 AM ET
9 years ago

GOP appears to take control of New York State Senate

(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."

Filed under: New York
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Bill

    Who knows what's going on here, at the very least, it's interesting. Should be fun to watch.

    June 9, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  2. Henry Miller

    Backlash? I'm beginning to wonder if even the Democrats getting scared of Obama's spend! spend! spend! truly voodoo economics.

    June 9, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Sniffit

    "...all to the detriment of the people represented by me and my 61 colleagues," Espada said in a statement.

    Riiiiight...and becoming president pro tempore had nothing to do with his motivation to go along with this nonsense....

    June 9, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  4. tony

    Its about time that someone stood up for the People. These idiots in the Senate have been blocking republicans at every turn, and bankrupting the state with their policies. Good Job!

    June 9, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. Jim


    Even a liberal haven like New York can get something right once in awhile.

    June 9, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Robert

    Those two senators just killed their chances of winning re-election in New York.

    June 9, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. phoenix86

    Great news for NY. Even the favorable opinion of George Bush is now up to 41%. American's can only be lied to so long before they realize that it is only BS they are hearing and it is their money that Obama is "redistributing" to his "friends".

    June 9, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Dan Kadish

    I fail to see how this is "despicable" or "illegal and unlawful." This was two elected officials leaving their party by their choice. Nothing illegal about that, it is purely their choice to swith parties or vote with the opposition. That is why we elect officials to make decisions that best serve their people not their parties. Dems in NY have passed massive tax and spend policies that hurt the state, at least we can now find a way to put the brakes on. The Dems in NY have nothing to stand on here, they had a Governer in a scandal, a Governer who is a joke, a state Assembly leader who is a fat cat and has ruined the state over the years, and now no Lt Governer to help them win tie votes. Hopefully now the Republicans led by Skelos will go back to their principles and block unwanted taxes and bad policies.

    June 9, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Shari, NY

    You mean the Pedro Espada who was investigated for representing the Bronx while livinig in the affluent suburbs of Westchester? You mean Monserrate who beat his girlfriend good and proper, claimed it was accident and she covered it up too (like Rihanna)? Poor New York!

    June 9, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. G SMITH PA

    The GOP is making a comeback, thank you Obama for making this happen. The American people do not want socialism and want a safer America.

    June 9, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. and the new york senate's message? 'NO'

    we will hear a lot more 'NO' from new york now if the GOP's preceeding messages are any indication of what to expect from their results and behavior, the message of 'NO', but no solutions

    June 9, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Mike in SA

    Does this mean the Dems are going to try to force us to take Arlen Specter back? he-he

    June 9, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. Tom in CA

    Sounds like California's legislature – they're doing nothing.

    June 9, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. Pragmatic

    Tom Libous, from Binghamton, is claiming all the credit. It doesn't matter to him the NY Republicans did nothing while in power for decades and that if the people of NY wanted Republican leadership – they would have elected Republicans! They didn't!

    Several years ago, the NYS legislature was voted the most dysfunctional state government in the country: bottom of the list. If you wondered why ... here's another example!

    June 9, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. blaster

    The people of NY are fed up with the tax policies of Paterson and the rest. And of course the dems' only response is name calling because they're too stupid to figure out what's behind this move. Were these people complaining when Specter defected to their party? Didn't think so.

    June 9, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. TRUTH

    the only way the gop will control a thing is by tricks, wait 'til the people vote. bush/cheney killed the gop DEMS ALL THE WAY

    June 9, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. DaBird

    You mean spend, spend, spend, tax, tax, tax doesn't work!!!! The states that are in trouble financially are the liberal states, NY, NJ, CA, MASS. The same thing is happening with the US. Everybody's taxes are going up.

    June 9, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. J.P.

    Looking at the results of the California referendum election a few weeks back, the results of this weekend's EU elections and the switch in power in this state house, 2010 is going to be an electoral blood bath for Democrats.

    You cannot look at this any other way. Look, when even the left leaning Eurpoeans are throwing the socialists out of office (The Socialist Party had its worst electoral showing since the end of WWII), you KNOW what our elections are going to look like. They will make 1994 look subtle by way of comparison.

    But, don't think that means voters will be giving "republicans" a free pass. Don't get too comfortable, big-spending RINOs... your day will come soon, too.

    535 unknown left-handed dog catchers from acrross the nation would be better than the current Congress. They couldn't possibly do any worse.

    June 9, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. patNY

    Please! We are not so naive to belive that this was done with the best interests of New Yorker's in mind...this was a pure and simple power grab by a party that could not bear to sit in the wings in the minority. And look who they got from the dem side to aid them...an indicted wife beater who cut his wife's face with glass, and one who just recently was caught not living in his district. Both or at least one, will be booted from the senate, and we'll be back to square one...the sad thing about all this, is that this really puts the final nail on the coffin for marriage equality in NYS.

    June 9, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Bill

    Anything would be better than what they have now. If left as it is it will be just another democratic welfare state wtih no money and even more massive deficits.

    June 9, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    I just can not believe this. Our New York Government is inventing new ways to be dysfunctional. We are on the brink of being bankrupt and we will have a continued gridlock just like we have had for the last three decades. What are we doing following California into the abyss?

    June 9, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Leslie

    Two Democrats depicted to the GOP, you've seen the election result in Europe, the libtards lose BIG time, the same thing will happen in this country. The people in Europe have finally realized socialism is killing their country, they're moving to the right.

    June 9, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  23. Karen - Missouri

    it's another day of Republican obstructionism, lies, deceit, and total lack of governing. Who are the Republicans kidding? I guess all the rich people must've shown up at the polls.

    June 9, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Ryan Indy

    Hey Dems I thought the Republican Party was DEAD? You mental midgets are so funny, you put your second Democratic President in the White House in the last 30 yrs and some way you people believe you have slayed the Dragon and the Republicans are irrelevant now? HA ........Either you have a short memory or just plain Dumb or Both, I will go with C.

    June 9, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  25. TomJay

    The Democrats making themselves look like fools in New York.

    June 9, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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