Democrats Work to Pull Monserrate Back In, Sharpton Plans An Albany Trip

ALBANY—Even as the Republican-led coalition in the State Senate forges ahead with plans to hold session today, Democrats are trying to pull State Senator Hiram Monserrate back into their fold.

There's a meeting going on right now in his Queens district called by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where I'm told by someone who's there that Sharpton will organize buses to bring demonstrators to Albany.

Also in attendance is Julissa Ferreras, Monserrate's former chief of staff, who was elected to succeed him in the City Council. According to the person there, she told the gathered leaders, "We sent Hiram to Albany as a Democrat and we need him to stay that way."

Monserrate, along with State Senator Pedro Espada Jr., formed the coalition Monday with Republicans to oust Malcolm Smith as the chamber's majority leader. Monserrate has crossed Smith before, and been flipped back. He was originally one of the holdout "gang of four" that frustrated Malcolm Smith's election as majority leader, before he lined up behind him in the face of pressure. Several unions and the Working Families Party were instrumental in that effort, threatening to back a primary challenger against him, I've heard from several people.

I saw Dan Cantor and other Working Families Party elders walking through the halls of the Capitol this morning. They refused to say what they were up to.

Democrats Work to Pull Monserrate Back In, Sharpton Plans An Albany Trip