Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Senator John Sampson Elected Leader by Liz Benjamin - Capital Tonight

Update: I received the following statement from a member of Senator-elect David Carlucci's staff:
"David Carlucci has not  "said flat out he would not be voting for Sampson" .That quote is inaccurate at best and misleading at worst. Senator Elect Carlucci is looking forward to having a voice in the vote on who becomes the next conference leader in January when he is officially sworn in as Senator.  David has yet to publicly support, or not support anyone. Thank you very much for clarifying his position."

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Senate Democrats have just emerged from a closed-door conference committee meeting where they consolidated their leadership, electing John Sampson as their leader for 2011 despite the fact that the question of who will control the chamber going forward remains unanswered.

UPDATE: Here’s Sampson’s statement:
“Today, it was my honor to win the support of our members as Leader of the Senate Democratic Conference for the upcoming legislative session.”
“It is with deep humility and profound purpose that I accept this responsibility to work with our members, and colleagues across the aisle to move our state forward and get the people’s business done.
“Whether it is addressing the state budget, property tax relief, government consolidation, or other issues of importance, New York faces extraordinarily difficult times. We need to put people back to work, grow our economy, and ease the burden on families and businesses.
“As we embark on the New Year, I look forward with renewed hope in the potential for our state to achieve the greatness New York has reached in its past and the greatness New York deserves for its future.”
Following the coup in June of 2009, Democrats had divided their leadership and titles among a handful of members. Malcolm Smith was President Pro Tem, Pedro Espada Jr. was majority leader, John Sampson was conference leader, Jeff Klein as deputy majority leader, and Dave Valesky was vice president pro tempore.
But, for all intents and purposes Sampson was the leader of the conference with Klein serving as his No. 2.
Over the past few weeks, we have asked several incoming Democratic senators – all of whom ran on reform platforms – if they would be supporting Sampson for leader, and some wouldn’t commit 100 percent to backing him.
In the wake of the IG’s scathing AEG report, at least one newcomer – Senator-elect David Carlucci – said flat out that he wouldn’t be voting for Sampson. A number of insiders suggested Sampson should have considered stepping aside – at least temporarily – to reduce the strength of the AEG bomb the GOP used against the Democrats during the fall campaigns, but he refused.