Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Espada Predicament

Pedro Espada is quite the character. Depending on what is politically expedient, depends on what party he's a member of. From 1993-1997, Espada served in the New York State Senate (District 32) representing the Bronx. He ran as a Republican and Democrat in every case. In 1998, he lost the Democratic line and lost reelection. Lost again in 1998. In 2000, he won back his seat and served as a Democrat. When up for reelection in 2002, he became a Republican. Then, New York had a Republican Governor and a Republican dominated State Senate and it looked to be a big year for Republicans nationwide. Republicans were "cool." He lost reelection by a 2 to 1 margin. He is now back again in 2008 as a Democrat in the 33rd District, but is not sure who he wants to caucus with yet. Despite being registered as a Democrat, his record is a mixed bag for Republicans. His record is 100% pro-choice, but he had a 63% rating from the generally right leaning (on fiscal issues) NY National Federation of Independent Business in the 2001-2002 session. Prior to that, he had a 50% rating (1996). His indecisive attitude had garnered the attention of the GOP members of the Senate -- who personally donated to him as much or more than their Democratic equivalents. For example? GOP Majority Leader Skelos donated $5,000 to his campaign...Democratic Minority Leader Malcolm Smith donated $500. That's 10 times more from the leader of the Republican caucus.

Espada's views are varied and it will be interesting to see where he ends up. It could be one more vote for Republican leadership and potentially, a voice of support on certain fiscal issues. Then again, which Pedro Espada will be seen in this coming legislative session? The 2002 Espada who stood by Joe Bruno and wanted to be a Republican, the former member of the New Alliance Party supporting a "more progressive agenda," or the guy who just outdid the Democratic incumbent on his own line. Time will tell.

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