The comments of Bertha Lewis this morning still continue to roil the senate leadership fight. As Liz B reports, another of the rebel three, Senator Ruben Diaz, is also taking umbrage at the Lewis calumny: "Reacting to speculation that Kruger might be named Senate Housing Committee chairman in exchange for his support of Smith, Lewis accused the Brooklyn lawmaker of "palling around with Republican terrorists" and said there would be "hell to pay" if he was tapped to head the committee. "We were making progress and now we're back to square one," Diaz said. "People should not be making these comments at this stage in the game. It doesn't help. It didn't help when (Sen.) Tom Duane made his comments, and it didn't help when Bertha Lewis made hers."
Or, possibly, "with friends like these..." At any rate, both Malcolm Smith and Dean Skelos will be attending the annual Diaz turkeys for seniors bash tomorrow in the Bronx; and Skelos might be feeling a bit better since Liz is also reporting that Frank Padavan is looking pretty good in his senate recount: "The 11th SD recount is dragging toward a close, and things are looking up for incumbent Republican Sen. Frank Padavan. As of last night, 692 votes separated Padavan from his Democratic challenger, Councilman Jim Gennaro, according to someone involved in the recount process."
Liz also reprises the premature Stavisky chest thumping that we had admonished him about: "That's still slightly less than the 723-vote lead Padavan had on election night, but more than his low of 474, which caused quite a bit of glee in the Senate Democrats camp - so much so that Gennaro consultant, Evan Stavisky, declared that the GOP senator's was plummeting "faster than the Dow under George Bush." As of this moment, it appears Stavisky might have spoken too soon. The Republicans are again feeling confident that Padavan will retain his seat, which would be a blow to Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith has he tries to reach the magic 32 number that will land him the majority leader's post."
So we suggest that everyone should probably just chill a bit, let the turkey digest, and see what transpires after the holiday. After all, no one wants to contemplate what would happen if no one has enough votes to be designated the senate leader.
As the TU wrote this morning: "As for the Senate majority leader battle, if a majority leader isn't chosen in January and there is no Senate secretary appointed either, staff payroll and operating expenses can't be paid, said Dennis Tompkins, a spokesman for Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
If Republicans and Democrats are still locked in a fight, Tompkins said the secretary of the Senate, Steven Boggess — a veteran aide to former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno — would be recognized as having the ability to advance expenditures to the comptroller, but only the current staff payroll would be honored. "If Boggess retires, then we've got a problem," Tompkins said."
And it looks as if Boggess will be gone before the end of December in order to be able to lobby without running afoul of the state's new ethics law: "The GOP exodus has begun. Steven Boggess, the longtime secretary of the Senate, plans to retire before the end of the year, DN Albany Bureau Chief Ken Lovett reports. A source close to Boggess said he will put in his papers sometime this week and be gone by Dec. 30 so he can begin a yet-unspecified lobbying career."
Hold on to your hats folks. We're not out of Chaos Forest quite yet.