2006-05-26 / Community

Despite Coffee Toss, Dems Endorse Smith

By Howard Schwach

Despite her troubles with airline flight attendants, police officers and staffers, Democratic Party leaders have endorsed State Senator Ada Smith as their choice for another term.

While acknowledging that allegations regarding Smith's behavior have "been a source of concern for party leaders," Michael Reich, the Queens' organization executive secretary told New York Times reporter Jonathan Hicks that she was the only candidate nominated by the party's district leaders at the organization's meeting last Monday. He added that Smith, who was present at the meeting, addressed those concerns to the district leaders who were present.

"She confronted the issues and made her pitch," Reich reportedly said. "There was a lot of frank discussion about the issues. In the end, I think that they were satisfied that someone who has been a member of the legislature for 18 years deserved another term and a second chance."

Two months ago, Smith was charged with throwing a scalding cup of coffee at an aide who reportedly questioned the progress of the Senator's diet.

More recently, Smith was removed from an airliner bound from Albany to Washington, D.C. when she refused to put her carry-on luggage into the storage bin and then got contentious with the flight attendant.

Several years ago, Smith was charged with running over the foot of a New York State Trooper who was checking credentials at an Albany Parking garage. Prior to that, she was charged with biting a New York City police officer that was investigating an accident in which she was involved.

Her activities and arrests have earned her the sobriquet of "The Mad Woman of Albany" in some circles, but she continually denies that any of those incidents every happened.

Earlier this year Senate Minority Leader David Patterson stripped her of her party leadership position and the extra salary that came with it.

Elizabeth Bishop-Goldsmith, who is planning a run against Smith in the upcoming primary elections, says that she was "misled" by the Democratic leadership, who told her the meeting was to begin later than it actually did.

"By the time I got there, everybody was coming out," she said.

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