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New York State Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens listens to his attorney Joe Tacopina outside Queens Criminal Court in the Queens borough of New York Monday, Sept. 14, 2009. He is accused of attacking his girlfriend with a broken bottle during an argument in December and may lose his senate seat if convicted. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
No he couldn’t -- convince voters to give him another shot.
Hiram Monserrate, the New York state senator from Queens who was expelled after a domestic violence conviction then campaigned to win his seat back under President Obama’s “yes we can” slogan, was trounced in a special election on Tuesday.
In complete but unofficial returns, Assemblyman Jose Peralta had 65 percent of the vote, while Hiram Monserrate had 27 percent. Local Democratic officials had endorsed Peralta, and he was 45 points ahead in a recent poll.
Republican candidate Robert Beltrani garnered 7 percent of the vote in the heavily Democratic district.
Monserrate apologized for any discredit he brought to the Senate, but said the facial cut his girlfriend suffered that night was an accident. He said the surveillance footage of him pulling her by the arm showed him taking her to the hospital.
Also Tuesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals explained in writing its Friday decision to reject Monserrate's attempt to get his seat back through a lawsuit.
The court said that even if Monserrate had won in court, he still would not have won reinstatement or been able to cancel the special election.
The assault case was another black eye for state lawmakers already reeling from a series of corruption scandals.
Democratic party leaders had worked hard for Peralta, who raised far more money and grabbed virtually every endorsements from local party and labor leaders. Monserrate also was targeted for defeat by a gay rights group and was heckled at a candidates' debate last week.
But with special elections notoriously difficult to predict because of low turnout, the Peralta campaign focused on getting people to the polls.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver congratulated Peralta, calling him a "strong, charismatic leader" and a "champion of equality for all New Yorkers" in a statement.
"We wish him well in his new endeavor, and we look forward to working with Senator Peralta to address the many challenges facing the state of New York," Silver said.