Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Coalition Is to Control State Senate as Dissident Democrats Join With Republicans

New York Republicans joined forces with a group of dissident Democrats on Tuesday to form what they called a “bipartisan governing coalition” to run the State Senate, preventing the Democratic Party from taking control even after it appeared to have won a majority of Senate seats in elections last month.

The announcement was the latest twist in a state capital that has had more than its share in recent years, with a string of leadership squabbles, corruption investigations and sex scandals that at times crippled the government and made Albany a laughingstock.
      
The power-sharing deal announced Tuesday was a victory for New York Republicans, who are outnumbered 2-to-1 in the state’s electorate and who fared unexpectedly poorly in a series of Senate races last month. The exact outcome of the election remains unclear, because ballots in two close races are still being counted, but the consensus in Albany is that the Democrats won more seats than the Republicans.
But shortly after the elections, one Democrat said he would align himself with the Republicans, and on Tuesday five others said they would join with the Republicans to control the Senate. Many of the remaining Senate Democrats were furious, accusing the Republicans and the breakaway Democrats of orchestrating a coup to steal control.    
As part of the deal, the Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, agreed to share authority over the chamber with Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, a Bronx Democrat who was the No. 2 official in his caucus before defecting nearly two years ago to form the Independent Democratic Conference. FULL POST

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