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Dems Infighting Could Hurt Party

Thursday, December 11, 2008

As New York Democrats continue their public battle over who's the next Senate majority leader, Albany observers say the infighting can have dire consequences. WNYC's Elaine Rivera reports.

REPORTER: After a week of contentious closed door meetings, Queens Sen. Malcolm Smith says he's no longer negotiating with three renegade senators who were challenging his ascension to be majority leader. Smith had initially agreed to elevate the three senators to leadership posts, but backed off after a majority of other senators expressed outrage. Veteran Albany observer Blair Horner, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, says New Yorkers will suffer if the infighting isn't resolved soon.

HORNER: Unless the Senate organizes itself with leadership, it can't pass any bills and there's a lot of work that needs to be done next year - first and foremost dealing with the state budget.

REPORTER: Senate Democrats gained a slim majority in the general election. But Smith says rather than give in to the three dissidents - who've threatened to align themselves with Republicans - he'll take the chance and risk losing the majority. For WNYC, I'm Elaine Rivera.

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