Monserrate Files Petition in Bid to Retake Seat

Monserrate has sued in federal court to contest the Senate's right to oust him

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Sen. Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens, walks in a hallway at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Wednesday, June 10, 2009. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

    Hiram Monserrate, the state senator expelled by his colleagues for a misdemeanor assault conviction, has filed a petition to run in a special election next month to fill his former seat.

    Queens Democrat Hiram Monserrate says supporters collected more than 5,500 signatures to get on the ballot March 16, which would be more than required by state election law. The deadline was midnight Monday.

    The vacancy was created after the Senate voted 53-8 two weeks  ago to expel him. Monserrate was sentenced in December to three years' probation for misdemeanor assault of his girlfriend.

    Democratic Party officials are backing Assemblyman Jose Peralta in the heavily Democratic Senate district.

    There were no immediate challenges Tuesday to the signatures.

    The expulsion vote followed an investigation by a special committee of nine senators and the resolution noted his conviction was for domestic violence -- and the Senate has a zero tolerance policy for that.

    Monserrate supporters and the lawsuit said the expulsion was at least partly payback for his decision along with Sen. Pedro Espada to briefly join with Republicans last year in a coalition that caused a monthlong legislative gridlock. The Democrats had a 32-30 Senate majority with Monserrate and Espada.

    The eight senators who voted against expulsion are all Democrats. They are Sens. Ruben Diaz, Carl Kruger, Martin Dilan, Eric Adams, Kevin Parker, Espada, Monserrate and Democratic Conference leader John Sampson, who appointed the special committee and said Monserrate shouldn't be expelled while the appeal of his criminal conviction is pending.