So far the contenders for the special election to fill the state senate seat of Hiram Monserrate — who was kicked out by a senate vote on February 9th — are Republican Judge Robert Beltrani and Democrats Jose Peralta and Monserrate himself.
The Queens Democrats endorsed Peralta even before Monserrate’s ouster, and wouldn’t like to see Monserrate returned, but the disgraced senator has won in his district before, and it’s not impossible that he could do it again. He’s got a campaign office, and has reportedly collected nearly 6,000 petition signatures to get on the ballot on his own “Yes We Can” independent line. (Update: In our comments section, a reader suggests Monserrate’s petitioners haven’t exactly been clear to signatories about what they were signing.)
He has also got some powerful friends, like the Albany Coup amigos who stood with him when he was canned, including Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., who says he’s got his political clubs and “the evangelical churches” out working for Monserrate. As we saw at his anti-gay-marriage protest in May, Diaz has proven his ability to get people out in the streets.
Yoda of Room Eight also sees an opening: “Special Elections are low turnout affairs and they usually come down to which candidate has the best ‘pulling’ operation. And we have visual proof that Hiram has a reall skill at this. Nobody does a better job of dragging voters out of their homes!”
Har har. But Monserrate’s not out of non-electoral options, either. After losing a move to get the expulsion overturned, his legal team has won an expedited appeal to block the special election. That could come any day.
The guy’s serious about this. So what if most of his colleagues, feminists, an electoral SWAT team of gay marriage supporters, and most of the press is against him? Monserrate’s been in electoral politics for 10 years. And his constituents know him — which could cut, so to speak, either way. Image (cc) Matt Ryan.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 25, 2010