Liz Benjamin at State of Politics gives a preview of what may come next in the Assembly:
There is no clear successor to Silver, who was just re-elected to a second two-year term as speaker and is the longest-serving legislative leader in Albany.
It’s possible the Assembly Democrats will elect a caretaker speaker to get them through this session – someone like Codes Committee Chairman Joe Lentol, of Brooklyn, or Ways and Means Committee Chairman Denny Farrell Jr., of Manhattan – both veteran members of the chamber (and close Silver allies).
There will likely be a significant battle for the speakership, should the position indeed become vacant. Though Silver has had his share of problems – from the spate of sexual harassment scandals to the recent NYT reports on the US attorney’s probe into his unreported work for a small Manhattan law firm – no lawmakers have been seriously trying to put together a coalition of support to oust him.
Members mentioned in the past as potential Silver replacements include:
- Assemblyman Keith Wright, the Housing Committee chairman, current Manhattan Democratic chair and former NYS Democratic chair. (He’s also interested in moving on, and has opened an exploratory committee for a potential 2016 run for the seat veteran Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel says he’ll vacate at the end of this two-year term).
- Assemblyman Carl Heastie, the Bronx Democratic chairman.
- Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, of Rochester. (This is unlikely since an upstater would have a tough time getting elected as head of the downstate-domionated conference, and Morelle is also close to Cuomo, which could be perceived as a detriment by his colleagues).
Morelle and Wright are both Cuomo allies (Morelle's ties detailed above, Wright's here.)
I don't know much about Heastie.
But if that's the list of potential permanent Silver replacements, then, we're screwed.
The agenda Cuomo detailed in his speech yesterday is now as good as done - there will be no powerful force in the "Three Men In The Room" negotiations to push back against Cuomo and his ally, State Senate head Skelos.
And if it turns out that Wright or Morelle get elected to run stuff, well, forget it - they're completely in Cuomo's pocket.
In short, with the coming arrest of Sheldon Silver, the power relationships in Albany have just shifted mightily toward the governor and the State Senate Republicans - and their education reform and hedge fundie allies.
If you're a public school teacher wondering what is going to happen to public schools or your profession with this news, rest assured, both will ultimately be destroyed.
Silver may not have been a perfect protector and he certainly was crooked (as is nearly EVERYBODY in Albany!) - but in the den of iniquity that is Albany government, at least he provided a barrier against the worst excesses of Cuomo.
Cuomo hates teachers, hates public schools, and the one powerful check on his wish to destroy both is being carted out in handcuffs on corruption charges today.
One last thing to note: There is a lot of talk on Twitter that Silver's got stuff to offer on others, that Dean Skelos and perhaps even Andrew Cuomo have something to fear if Silver talks to save himself.
There's probably something to that.
But I don't think that's going to come in time to save us from the agenda Cuomo detailed yesterday.
As Liz Benjamin wrote this morning "If Silver is led away in cuffs today, it will definitely strengthen the position of Gov. Andrew Cuomo is many ways."