Paterson to Democrats: Open the Chamber and Have a Vote

ALBANY—David Paterson wants the State Senate to vote on new leadership.

Today he continued to blast Republicans and renegade Democrats who chose one of the last weeks of session to mount a coup in New York's upper chamber. Paterson also called on Democrats who still hold the keys to "open the doors" of government and vote.

"They can resolve that issue by just holding another vote. If the votes are sustaining that leadership, then they would hold up," Paterson said. When asked, he said he had no reason to believe there would be a different vote count. He was then asked whether, as a Democratic Party leader, he would acquiesce to Smith losing power.

"My leadership of the Democratic Party has nothing to do with this," Paterson said. "As the leader of the Democratic Party I support Democrats, I want the Democrats to win–when and if they vote."

He was asked by James T. Madore of Newsday what he would do if Malcolm Smith's surrogates, who have the keys to the chamber, defied him. He paused for over 10 seconds before answering.

"I'm not going to go knock down the doors of the Senate. If I were to open them up, I would be interfering in the process," Paterson said. "Yes, we could go in and bring OGS and Homeland Security and blast through the doors of the Senate. But they've got to act like adults here. They've got to address this issue."

He said he will speak to State Senators Dean Skelos and Pedro Espada Jr. today to urge them to resolve the issue democratically. He said he had already expressed his wishes to Smith, but did not say how Smith reacted.

Republicans are planning to go into session at 3 p.m., with or without most Democrats, and outside the chamber if necessary.

Paterson to Democrats: Open the Chamber and Have a  Vote