He arguably has the authority to do so. And knows it.
Citizens Union, Common Cause and Assemb. Michael Gianaris (D- Astoria) urged Paterson to exercise the authority given him by Section 43 of the Public Officers Law.
The provision reads in part, “if a vacancy shall occur, otherwise than by expiration of term, with no provision of the law for filling the same, if the office be elective, the governor shall appoint a person to execute the duties thereof until the vacancy shall be fill by an election.”
Gianaris said the groups’ idea was presented to Paterson several weeks ago and he hasn’t yet made a decision.
It seems odd that Paterson, who is (like other Democratic governors) polling extraordinarily badly right now, doesn’t seem all that interested in ending the Senate mess in NY*, or at least getting it under some sort of control. Then again, it seems odd that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would be arguing against the constitutionality of a solution that would arguably help not only New York, but his own party head.
Well, no. Not really. An out-of-control Senate is a wonderful thing, if you’re a Democrat trying to unseat an incumbent…
*Really briefly: the Senate is 31-31. The GOP had a 32-30 majority for just long enough to put in a defector from the Democrats as Senate President. But you need a 32 member quorum to pass bills, and the Democrats adamantly dispute the truthfulness of the previous sentence. If there’s a quorum, the Senate President arguably breaks ties (that’s disputed, too) in the absence of a Lt. Governor. Hence, the trenches now stretching down the length of the chamber.
Crossposted to RedState.