A Former Charles Schumer Aide Tries to Upend State Senate Vet Marty Connor

A veteran progressive legislator faces the Schumer steamroller

More directly, a few years ago Connor's Democratic senate colleagues dropped him as minority leader, frustrated that he didn't have the fire in the belly to push the Dems over the top into a senate majority. Some people think the defeat liberated him. A few years ago, when an upstart judge named Margarita Lopez Torres bucked the Brooklyn Democratic organization, Connor served as her lawyer. She won.

This fall, for the first time in more than 60 years, the Democrats expect to finally win that majority. This has the potential to usher in a host of reforms—from campaign finance to civil-rights laws—that have long been buried in Joe Bruno's Republican boneyard. Part of the rationale for Squadron's election is that shedding old-guard Democrats like Connor should be part of the needed cleanup. But last week, a clutch of downstate Democratic senators gathered in the hot sun outside City Hall to insist that, should they seize power in the senate, they want Connor there to help.

Liz Krueger, who snatched her East Side seat away from the Republicans six years ago, said that Connor had taught her the basics of legislating. "Marty Connor has an unbelievable institutional knowledge about how you get things done in Albany, where nothing is a straight line—it's all zigs and zags," she said.

Bill Perkins, Harlem's senator, put it more bluntly: "This is not the amateur hour," he said. "We need all hands on deck."

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