ALBANY—Yes, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco just told reporters, he will step down Monday as minority leader, citing the need to focus on the "transition" to Congress and the "due diligence" that will be required in the process of counting absentee ballots.
He did, of course, remain minority leader through budget negotiations, citing his ability to "multi-task." He denied a report in this morning's Times Union that he was facing a vote of no confidence next week. I've heard from Assembly Republicans that he had planned to step down for a while. His absence at the Capitol has been noticeable during the campaign.
"This decision was made as we've seen the process move forward with this counting," Tedisco told reporters in his office, standing over a cluttered desk with a Daily Study Bible for Men atop myriad papers. "This is not going to be over in a couple weeks. This is going to be a process that's going to go for quite a while, and after the election, obviously, when you feel you're going to win – and I'm not declaring victory – you've got to start a transition, you've got to move over to that level."
Tedisco was asked if he would resign his seat if he is not elected to Congress. As of last night, he was leading Democratic opponent Scott Murphy by 12 votes.
"Well, it's not going to happen so I don't have to decide that," he replied.
He would not say who he would like to see succeed him as minority leader.
He closed by thanking the media for "putting up with the ties, and the socks we wore and some of the things we've done because when you're the minority leader and you're in the minority, sometimes you have to do some marketing."
And yes, the budget clock is safe, he said.