State Senator Malcolm Smith once led the Democratic majority in Albany—until two fellow Democrats—Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate—decided to defect and join the Republicans in 2009, sending the Senate into confusion and even more gridlock than usual. Smith was ousted as leader of the Democrats, and maybe he's been nursing a grudge ever since. Because today the Post reports that Smith has been in talks with Republicans about running for Mayor next year, on the Republican ticket.
Smith said, "I have had conversations exploring the possibility [of a mayoral run as a Republican] with a number of people around the city," and the Post points out the 55-year-old "African-American [has] a strong political base in Southeast Queens. But he has appeal well beyond the Democratic Party’s liberal precincts... Compared to the crop of Democrats, Smith’s views on major city policies are far more conservative. Smith is an unabashed supporter of stop-and-frisk to get guns off the street and he has defied the teachers union to fight for charter schools while supporting Mayor Bloomberg’s position on teacher evaluations."
Further, Smith would also be cool with Walmart entering NYC. He said, "The crime issue is front and center. And we have to maintain New York’s status as the financial capital of the world with a pro-business, pro-growth agenda." And some Republicans like him, because of that pro-business stance. However, like many politicians these days, he's got some dirty laundry.
Fun factoid: Smith doesn't even have to officially become a Republican to run as one—he just needs three of the city's five GOP county leaders to support him.