Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Benjamin of the New York Daily News has some interesting news:
A fascinating wrinkle has developed in the fight for Hiram Monserrate's Queens Senate seat, which, assuming Judge William Pauley's ruling today stands, is on track to be decided in a March 16 special election.
A GOP source confirms Helen Sears, a Democrat who lost her Council seat to Danny Dromm in a primary last fall, is in discussions with local Republicans, Conservatives and Independence Party leaders to run on their respective lines for Monserrate's seat.
According to this source, the deal calls for Sears to remain a registered Democrat but to conference with the Republicans if she wins.
The significance here is that Democrats currently hold only a 31-30 edge in the Senate with this one vacancy. The Republicans could pull into a tie if they add one member to their caucus.
Still, that's very unlikely to happen. Republicans haven't even had a candidate in this district since 2002. Sears is almost certainly only the third most likely candidate to win. The race will also feature Assemblyman Jose Peralta as the Democratic nominee and Monserrate himself, running as an independent despite his conviction on domestic assault charges and his expulsion from the Senate.
Perhaps there's a way that Sears sneaks into office with something like 35% of the vote, deadlocking the Democratic majority. Then again, with members like Monserrate, there's a pretty good case that Senate Democrats never had a majority to begin with.
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