EXCLUSIVE: Mayor lobbying behind the scenes for Sheldon Silver successor

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NEW YORK (PIX11)– While scandal-scarred Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver prepares for his corruption battle in court, Mayor de Blasio is facing a battle of his own to find a new ally to help him push through his legislative agenda. Multiple sources are telling PIX11 the mayor is already engaged in behind-the-scenes lobby efforts to get somebody he trusts to replace the Assembly Speaker.

Assembly insiders said the mayor’s operatives are already pushing for Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie to take over as Speaker. After de Blasio burned him last year during the city council speakers race by supporting Melissa Mark Viverito, the Mayor owes him a favor and could use his clout to get him elected and make him a powerful ally to the city. Who wins the leadership role in the Assembly is a major test for de Blasio..

Jon Lentz, Senior Correspondent for City and State Magazine said, “Shelly has been a major ally of the mayor and having him out is a big hit for de Blasio. He needs Silver to help push through his legislative agenda for the city, including rent regulations, the minimum wage and charter schools. He needs somebody from downstate who he trusts.”

Heastie is one of five Democrats seeking leadership of the Assembly. In addition to Heastie, there’s Majority leader Joseph Morelle of Rochester who will take over as temporary Speaker. Asssemblyman Joseph Lentol of Brooklyn has already mounted a campaign. Catherine Nolan from Queens is close to the teachers union and the city and to Mayor de Blasio. Keith Wright of Harlem has significant ties to the city’s progressive base is also seen as a prime choice to replace Silver.

Initially, Assembly Democrats overwhelmingly voted in favor of keeping Silver in his leadership role. Until realty set in among many members, who according to PIX11’s sources, chose political survival over love for Silver, fearing backlash from voters if they failed to oust him. Had he failed to go peacefully, I’m told it’s likely there would have been somewhat of a rebellion in the Assembly to push him out.

One source who been in touch with Silver said he decided to leave “out of respect for the Chamber.”

His resignation is effective Monday and sources say his letter to the Assembly clerk is already on its way. Though out as Speaker, Silver will hold onto the seat to which he was elected.

A new Speaker will be elected February 10th.

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