Our Joe Bruno is now in trouble.
For a politician, being the subject of, or a person of interest in, a Federal investigation is never a positive. It may or may not be a career ender. A more telling sign of Joe's problems comes from his own Republican conference.
There is a typical pattern in political scandals: friends and colleagues offer support; friends and colleagues become "troubled"; friends and colleagues abandon their friend and colleague.
It begins one colleague willing to break ranks. In this case, it's State Senator John Bonacic of Orange County. Bonacic called upon his Republican colleagues to oust Senator Bruno, who will not be formally elected Senate Majority leader until the new year.
Bonacic has a point and many Republican Senators have to be angry with Bruno. If the story of the investigation had broke a few weeks before the election, the Senate might be in Democratic hands. As it is, under Bruno, the GOP has lost four Senate seats in the last four years.
Bruno's age doesn't help things. For the first time that we can recall, Joe looks his age and looks weak and vulnerable. At 77 years old, some GOP Senators have to be looking towards their own future. When they start jumping ship, they jump fast. If there's a revolt in Bruno's conference, we should know by New Year's Eve.
Bruno will say he has the votes. So did Marino.
As for more rumors, one has to wonder if any portion of the investigation involves the construction of Ken Bruno's palatial estate. What contractors were used, what were they paid and how were they paid. We can't help get the feeling that First Grafton is involved. Or is it horse racing, or both?
On a side note, Governor Elect Spitzer has named State Senator Michael Balboni to head the State's version of the Homeland Security Department. Balboni turned down a run for Attorney General recently in order to keep his Senate seat in GOP hands. Now, Spitzer will call a special election to fill Balboni's seat.
If Bruno, for whatever reason, resigns from the Senate, who will run in the special election for the GOP? For the Democrats?