Albany, NY, Jun 19, 2009 — (TEXT ONLY) The fight for control of the state Senate enter its 12th day today. There were negotiations behind closed doors yesterday. And the Republicans-plus-one coalition members convened in the Senate, but didn't have the quorum necessary to do business. That briefly focused a bright light of speculation on North Country Democrat Darrel Aubertine.
Rules of the chamber require a quorum of 32 Senators. But the Democratic and Republican-dominated voting blocs are evenly split, 31-31. And Democrats have refused to physically enter the Senate chamber since the coalition "coup" last week.
Yesterday, it appeared Aubertine would enter the chamber. Republican leader Dean Skelos says Aubertine asked the coalition to vote on renewing "Power for Jobs." The program ensures low-cost electricity for companies employing large numbers of workers in the North Country.
Speaking with reporters yesterday afternoon, Skelos said he asked Aubertine to join them in the chamber, "but he's opted not to."
Aubertine confirmed to the Albany Times Union that he was prepared to work with Republicans in order to renew "Power for Jobs." Spokesman Drew Mangione says that action was contingent on a bipartisan power agreement only. He said Aubertine was never considering becoming part of a Dean Skelos- or Pedro Espada-led coalition.
Yesterday afternoon, Aubertine issued a statement calling Democrat Espada's leadership role "unacceptable" and demanded that his title be revoked.