ALBANY – Democrats in the State Senate will try once again to oust embattled Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos when the chamber reconvenes Monday in Albany.
The move could have severe consequences for Senate republicans – with the NY1 Time-Warner-Cable news station reporting that Skelos may decide to resign from his seat and leave the Senate if he were removed from the leadership position. And if that happens, the chamber could inch toward a deadlock between Democrats and Republicans.
The GOP currently has 32 members in the 63 seat chamber. Should Skelos step down, it would be reduced to just 31 members with one of those senators – Tom Libous of Binghamton – severely ill and not in the Capitol. He also faces a federal charge of lying to authorities. If Libous and Skelos were absent, Republicans could end up with just 30 votes. (however, one downstate Democrat in the chamber sits and votes with the Republicans, meaning they would still have 31).
But with 32 votes needed to choose a leader, the GOP is in a precarious position of not having enough votes to choose a new leader, should it come up for a vote. They may be able to convince at least one member of the Independent Democratic Party to support another Republican as leader, but that’s not a guarantee.
As for which Republican would replace Skelos should enough votes be present, Albany insiders say it would either be Syracuse’s John DeFrancisco and Long Island’s John Flanagan.
Skelos was arrested May 4 by federal authorities for allegedly soliciting bribes and extortion. He allegedly used his position to seek political donations and to get work for his son Adam Skelos, who also was arrested.