Hiram Monserrate, the AP, and Burying the Lede

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I don't know about you, but when the rest of the country discovers one of our colorful local politicians it makes me want to take them off my iPod.

Still, they just don't know Hiram Monserrate like we do.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Expelled from the state Senate, shunned by his party and denounced as a domestic abuser, Hiram Monserrate is seeking his old job back in a special election Tuesday.

The former Democratic state senator from Queens was ousted from his seat five weeks ago after a misdemeanor conviction for dragging his girlfriend through an apartment lobby.

Um. OK. That pretty much sums it up, I guess.

Well, not quite. Scandal-plagued Albany Democrats are trying to rid themselves of the taint of convicted misdemeanor lobby dragging, and they're punishing him for jumping the aisle in last year's "Gang of Four" coup, and it's all "an illegitimate power grab by party bosses and Albany insiders who want to get rid of someone who's shown the independence from all the politics as usual."

Also, his insurgent campaign is "grass roots all the way," which, well, maybe:

"I'm sending my campaign clubs, my four campaigns clubs will be in the district. I'm going to do a commercial for radio and I'm going to send people there. We're going to send money and we're to win this one," Diaz Sr. told me. "In five days we collected 5,500 petitions. I don't think the Queens County organization could do that for any of its candidates. That's quite a showing - that's an impressive number and an impressive organization...Yes, the churches in the district - the evangelical churches - they're all involved. This is special. This is important."Diaz is the president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Association and is, in his words, a "leader" of the evangelical movement in New York City.

"Yes sir, the ministers are involved. Not directed from the churches, but we are requesting volunteers from churches and I'm calling the ministers to send volunteers," Diaz said. "We organize tens of thousands of people in front of the governor's office. You know, this is the church. This is the movement. It's a movement, and we're going to put a movement behind Hiram Monserrate."


The gay baiting isn't there ("gay rights activists don't like him because he voted against gay marriage last year), and neither is the Reverend Diaz' assistance in signature gathering.

Ms. Giraldo's unfortunate encounter with the former State Senator's glassware does appear, in the 17th paragraph of an 18 paragraph story, where it's most likely going to be cut for space. If it's not cut, it's most likely it'll appear with paragraph 18, in which Monserrate explains that "the surveillance footage only showed him taking her to the hospital."

The surveillance footage was the basis of the misdemeanor assault conviction for lobby dragging, and Monserrate bypassed 8 hospitals closer to his home to take Giraldo over the border into Long Island, something Queens Supreme Court Justice William Erlbaum noted at his sentencing.

Which is fairly important information, I'd've thought. Maybe it was in paragraph 19.


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