Monday, June 23, 2008

Sea Change In Albany

This has been a tumultous year in Albany. First Governor Eliot Spitzer became embroiled in a major sex scandal that resulted in his resignation. Next, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson became the first African American governor in New York history, in addition to being the first blind governor in the nation's history.

Throw in a little campaign finance chicanery and that would have been enough for Albany this year.

However, it appears that there's one more major change to the Albany political landscape.

Joe Bruno will be stepping down as the Senate majority leader at the end of his term in December. He will not seek reelection.

Bruno has been a fixture in New York politics since 1995, and was one of the three most powerful men in New York politics alongside the governor and New York State Assembly speaker. Those three men would craft the annual budgets, and dole out the member items. At a time when the state is predominantly Democrat, Bruno, a Republican from upstate, was able to maintain a majority in the Senate.

That majority is in serious doubt that Bruno is to depart from the scene and a power play may develop between two contenders for his job - Tom Libous from Binghamton, and Dean Skelos from Long Island. Other Republicans may also choose not to run for reelection, throwing the future of the party into doubt.

The Republican party in New York has had a tenuous history, and this throws the situation in to sharper focus. There simply isn't a newer generation of Republicans to replace those who are moving to the exits.

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