English: Hiram Monserrate announces that he wi...

Malcolm Smith during 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I read of state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s interest in running for mayor as a Republican, Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” played in my head: “99 red balloons / Floating in the summer sky / Panic bells — it’s red alert.”

Red alert, indeed.

Malcolm Smith is best known for his short tenure as state Senate majority leader — when he lost his majority as his fellow Democrats Pedro Espada and Hiram Monserrate bolted to the GOP. That tawdry soap opera brought serious government to a halt for weeks and turned Albany into a laughingstock.

His fellow Democrats quietly deposed him when they ended the revolt.

 That Malcolm Smith wants to be our 109th mayor. Nor is this his only baggage — he still faces questions over a suspicious awarding (soon canceled) of the contract to run the Aqueduct racino, as well as over reported irregularities at certain charities.

Malcolm’s trial balloon sent some GOP leaders scrambling to shoot it down. Other mischief-makers seemed intent on trying to set off a political conflagration by suggesting that Smith is really a stalking horse for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, to take away black votes from former city Comptroller Bill Thompson.

In fact, he most likely hinted at a mayoral run simply to empty out his dirty laundry bag a year before the election. He may well have hoped to at least be taken seriously, erasing the humiliation of his Senate leadership.

We’re talking politics. Everything is calculated.

Read more: Malcolm Smith & the mayoral race—Michael Benjamin – NYPOST.com.
Capital NY’s Azi Paybarah notes: A reporter in Queens is skeptical. [@NRafter]
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