Anatomy of a Coup

ALBANY—At 3:37 p.m. Monday afternoon, State Senator Jeff Klein, a Democrat, offered a motion to adjourn the State Senate. It was an act of desperation: there was a motion on the floor that would elect the Republican leader in the chamber–Dean Skelos–majority leader, and install a turncoat Democrat, State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., as the president pro tempore. The last word was barely out of Klein’s mouth before his fellow Democrat State Senator Neil Breslin slammed the gavel. Without speaking, 30 Democratic members slipped out the door. At 3:38 p.m., the chamber’s lights went out. But the Republicans remained: they had more work to do.