Senate Democrats Love Espada
June 17th, 2009
Democrats think they have a new ally in the battle for control of the Senate and the hearts and minds of New York’s voters. His name is Pedro Espada, Jr. “Espada Republicans” is a phrase being bandied about by Democrats who feel that the controversial Espada is doing them a big favor by being the mouthpiece of the Republican-plus-one-Democrat “coalition.”
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is running robocalls in the districts of Republican Senators, trying to connect them with Espada. “Pedro Espada’s campaign was convicted of stealing from the elderly to pay for his campaigns, and was just accused of trying to steal millions of taxpayer dollars through bogus nonprofits!” goes the script for the calls. It continues by telling voters to call their local Senators and “tell him we’ve had enough corruption in Albany. We need him to stop the nonsense, get rid of Pedro Espada and get back to work.”
But the icing on the cake for Democrats is that Espada has a tendency to make brash proclamations (sometimes in the third person) that turn out not to hold much water.
Last night Espada called for the Inspector General to investigate the Bronx DA, who is investigating Espada’s residency. But the IG does not have the authority to investigate district attorneys.
Today Espada proclaimed that his vote could count as two votes to provide Republicans with the quorum they need to hold session. The President Pro Tempore does function as the acting Lieutenant Governor, who gets to vote as a tie breaker in the Senate. But legal experts say he Espada would not be allowed to cast two votes–he would simply function as Lieutenant Governor. And Espada could not explain what tie his vote would break in a simple effort to assemble a quorum.
On Monday Espada attended a rally for himself–bussing in supporters from the Bronx to chant his name–while the Senate remained trapped in turmoil.
Democrats had PR issues when Espada was on their team, but now things have changed.
Democrats say Espada’s brash actions are making Republicans look like they have “made a deal with the devil” or “let the genie out of the bottle.”
The Democrats seem to think at this point they are in control of the situation. They are in the majority’s offices and they are in charge of payroll. They have offered what they consider a legitimate power-sharing plan, which Republicans have rejected. Judging by the Republicans’ recent bi partisan operating proposal, they feel they are in control as well. But as the power struggle continues, Espada increasingly establishes himself as the face of the Senate Republicans, even while he remains a registered Democrat.
One Democratic Senator told me today that he thinks “Republicans are embarrassed that Espada has become their spokesperson.” He noted that at this point they appear to be stuck with him. They are too invested to do anything about it.By David King on June 17, 2009, 8:33 pm
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