Monserrate Mounts Petition Campaign to Retake Seat

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

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    (Sen.?) Hiram Monserrate.

    Just weeks after being expelled by his colleagues for a misdemeanor assault conviction, State Sen. Hiram Monserrate is gathering petition signatures for an attempt to return to office in a special election next month.
        
    With the Senate due back in session Monday for the first time since voting 53-8 to expel Monserrate, the Queens Democrat faces a midnight deadline to file the petition. Party officials are backing Assemblyman Jose Peralta in the heavily Democratic district.
        
    Monserrate is visiting a seniors center in Queens and is expected to file the petition later in the day, said the senator's spokesman Mike Nieves said today.
        
    Monserrate sued in federal court to contest the Senate's right to oust him. But a judge declined Friday to block the expulsion and the March 16 special election.

    The embattled politician has said  he believes that "the special election is the outgrowth of what we believe is an illegal act" -- adding, "there should be no special election."

    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.