A recently formed GOP Super PAC has Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver in its sights and says it will actively campaign — and drop an estimated $1.5 million — to see to it that he’s not re-elected as Assembly speaker.
The Super PAC — which is being financially fueled by the group Americans for Real Change — cites Silver’s handling of Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s pervy-ness as the reason for the push to oust him from his position.
Silver has a history of sweeping allegations of sexual misconduct in the Assembly under the rug — his coverups have caused his foes to compare him to deceased Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
But the push to give him the boot probably will do precisely nothing — at the end of the day, Shelly Silver’s still Shelly Silver.
Further reading on Lopez’s pervy-ness:
The effort is being led by GOP consultant Jake Menges, a top adviser to former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
In addition to urging Assembly Democrats to not vote for Silver when they’re required to elect a speaker in January, Menges says the group will pressure mayoral hopefuls to pick a side in the Silver/Lopez sex scandal.
That’s great and all; after nearly 20 years as speaker — and 35 years in the Assembly — it’s probably time to send the offensively powerful Manhattan assemblyman out to pasture. But here’s why it probably won’t work: The people who elect Silver speaker are Democrats who probably won’t be too swayed by a Republican consultant with a political ax to grind.
During this year’s campaign, only a small handful of Democratic Assembly candidates would even discuss Silver and the Lopez coverup. Most notable was Upstate Assembly candidate Frank Commisso Jr. — and he lost in a Democratic primary.
There’s a reason Assembly Dems are hesitant to speak ill of their leader: he’s got a history of bullying those who oppose him — regardless of political party.
Silver is one of the most powerful politicians in
New York, and arguably is the most powerful Democrat (with the
exception, maybe, of Governor Andrew Cuomo). Crossing him has proved to
be a bad idea — take the case of former Assemblyman Mike Bragman, for
In 2000, Bragman attempted a coup to remove Silver as
speaker. It failed — and Silver stripped him of privileges, staff, and
assigned him an office “the size of a broom closet.” Bragman and his supporters were then muscled out of office by primary challengers backed by Silver.
Maybe Assembly Democrats will grow some post-election balls and give Silver the boot. But we’re not counting on it — after all, he’s still Shelly Silver.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 6, 2012