In the shifting sands of the Albany political landscape, one veteran Brooklyn pol who had been trying to snag the Assembly’s crown jewel, and become the body’s next speaker, has dropped out of the race.
Assemblymember Joseph Lentol, who has represented Williamsburg and Greenpoint in the Assembly since 1972, followed a day of attempting to solidify support for his candidacy with the announcement that he would not run for the position, which is vacant in the wake of the indictment of the body’s former speaker, Sheldon Silver, who – while remaining in the Assembly – has stepped down from the speaker post he has held since 1994.
“At this time, I recognize that I do not have the support needed to become the Speaker,” said Lentol in a statement. “I, therefore, withdraw my name from consideration and support the candidacy of [Bronx Assemblymember] Carl Heastie. I look forward to refocusing my attention on the important budgetary and legislative issues that face our state.”
In backing Heastie, Lentol follows the lead of Assemblymember Keith Wright, who represents upper Manhattan, and who stepped aside earlier this week in favor of Heastie.
Also in the running is Queens Assemblymember Catherine Nolan. Assemblymember Joseph Morelle of Rochester, who is poised to serve as temporary speaker until a new speaker is chosen on February 10, has also dropped out of the race and thrown his support behind Heastie.
According to one insider, the Brooklyn Democratic Party is poised to join together with the parties in the Bronx and Queens, in backing Heastie.