The Daily News reports that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is in custody in Manhattan after surrendering to face arraignment on federal corruption charges. As the story unfolds this morning, many are speculating on what’s next for Shelly with many pointing out that Silver would not be forced to step down unless he was convicted of a felony. That’s true. But what’s far more significant for the people of New York and especially for progressive priorities in Albany in the new legislative session is whether or not Silver maintains his position as Speaker.
And, if early indications are to be believed, things aren’t looking so good for Sheldon Silver this morning. What once seemed nearly unthinkable, that Silver could be forced from his perch atop the Assembly, a position he’s now held for two decades, now seems more likely than anyone believed possible even a few hours ago.
There are already rumblings among Shelly’s conference that maybe the time has come for him to go.
Two members said that if Silver is arrested, it will likely be difficult for him to hold on to his post.
“If he’s arrested, you’ll likely hear members calling for him to give up his speakership,” an Assembly Democrat told The News.
The lawmaker noted that there has been mass turnover in the Assembly in recent years, meaning “there’s a lot of new members who are not loyal to Shelly.”
These two lawmakers are correct. There has been quite a bit of turnover in Shelly’s conference in recent years. These new Assembly members just don’t owe as much to Shelly as the old guard did. That’s not good news for Silver.
Now also notice that these two lawmakers declined to attach their names to their statements. That’s not nothing.
That said, at least one Democrat, Senator Brad Hoylman of Manhattan, is already asking Shelly to step down.
Granted, he’s not one of Shelly’s flock, but his statement isn’t insignificant.
Could Shelly’s Speakership really be in jeopardy? Maybe so.
My own thought is that Shelly sits tight. A position of power is the best bargaining chip he’s got.
Stay tuned. We’re all over this story today and in the days to come.