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State Democrats want to dump Espada for GOP defection

ALBANY - The New York Democratic State Committee wants the party to dump the state senator from the Bronx who defected last year to the Republicans in a coup that gridlocked the chamber for a month.

In a letter this week, the committee told the Bronx Democratic Party that it should cancel Sen. Pedro Espada's enrollment because he bartered away his party allegiance for personal benefit.

Calls to Espada, named majority leader after rejoining the Democrats to restore their 32-30 voting advantage in the Senate, were not immediately returned Thursday.

Assemb. Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Bronx committee chairman, said Thursday that proceedings against Espada couldn't be finished before the Sept. 14 primary and any subsequent court battle could take months. Espada and three others are circulating petitions to get on the ballot, he said.

"I'm doing my homework on this in terms of reading past court cases and the election law and other relevant information and I will determine shortly what action if any we should take on this request," Dinowitz said.

A similar attempt to oust Espada in 2002 failed. The New York Post first reported on the state committee's letter Monday.

"Quite clearly, Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. left the Democratic Party long ago in all but his official party affiliation.

Through his repeated public statements and bad conduct, Sen. Espada has shown he is not 'in sympathy' with our party's fundamental principles," according to the letter signed by Edgar Santana, a state committee official and Bronx party member.

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