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Senate GOP blocks vote on challenge to Skelos’ leadership (Updates)

ALBANY - Senate Democrats tried a parliamentary maneuver, then arguing and shouting over the clerk, then ultimately walked out of session Wednesday as they unsuccessfully tried to oust Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Skelos’ fellow Republicans refused to officially “recognize” the motion to suspend rules to take a vote on the issue. Democrats wanted a vote to determine whether the Rockville Centre Republican should continue in his top leadership post after being charged Monday with corruption.

“It’s shameful!” charged Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), breaking the usual docorum used on the Senate floor.

Republicans, with Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) controlling the debate from the rostrum and ruling on motions, wouldn’t allow the Democrats’ effort get to a vote.

Gianaris said afterward that Republicans who are facing increasing criticism for their decision to keep Skelos as majority leader feared losing the vote.

“He’s somewhat delusional,” said Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), a top contender for the majority leader job should Skelos quit or is ousted. “It would not have passed.”

DeFrancisco wouldn’t comment on whether he felt Skelos should keep the job as he fights the federal charges. But DeFrancisco said he abides by the decision of the Republican conference.

On Monday night, the Senate Republican majority conference reached a “consensus” to keep Skelos in the job. But senators said the vote wasn’t unanimous and some senators told Newsday that Skelos agreed to step aside if staying in power would hurt the GOP conference.

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