COUP IN ALBANY: GOP Takes Over NY State Senate
Malcolm Smith Ousted As Senate Majority Leader; Dems Turn Off Lights, Cut Internet Power In Attempt To Stop Coup
Paterson Goes Ballistic: I'm Here To Stand Up For DemocracyALBANY (CBS) ― Who's in charge of New York?
That was the big question Monday night following a political standoff in Albany.
The Republicans said they pulled off a coup, snatching power away from the Senate majority, but the Democrats said it was illegal and that they're still in control of the Legislature.
And the whole thing has Gov. David Paterson lashing out at lawmakers.
It was a carefully crafted coup -- five weeks in the making, with independent Tom Golisano in on the plotting.
And when it was over Republican Sen. Dean Skelos of Rockville Center was back in power as Senate Majority Leader. Dumped was former Democratic leader Malcolm Smith.
"I want to thank Pedro and Hiram," Skelos said. "I know the difficult votes you did today. But they did the right thing and I want to thank Tom Golisano, who certainly has been a leader."
The thank yous to Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate were because the two controversial Democrats crossed party lines and voted for Skelos to lead the Senate. The flip of the senators give Republicans a 32-30 edge in the chamber.
During the coup, Democrats fled the chamber, turned out the lights, and cut off the Internet feed of chamber proceedings, leaving Republicans and their two Democratic friends to take the vote in the dark.
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© Janet Crain
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