Sweeney won't be Assembly majority leader

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) considered Assemb. Robert Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) considered Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) for majority leader. (June 28, 2012) Photo Credit: James Escher

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ALBANY -- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver selected an upstate Democrat for the second-most-powerful position in the chamber, bypassing Long Island Assemb. Robert Sweeney.

Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) was one of the top veteran lawmakers Silver had considered for the post of majority leader. Instead, Silver chose Assemb. Joe Morelle (D-Rochester).

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The majority leader runs the Assembly floor for Silver, marshaling bills and votes on key issues, and monitoring the pulse of rank-and-file Democrats. The post was vacated by Assemb. Ron Canestrari (D-Cohoes), who didn't run for re-election.

Typically, with a New York City lawmaker serving as speaker, the majority leader post goes to an upstate lawmaker for geographic balance -- which pointed to Morelle, long considered the favorite among some Capitol insiders. Silver praised Morelle's "proven leadership" in his announcement.

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