From the Daily News:
At 5:01 p.m. this afternoon - seven hours before the deadline for making such a decision - former Democratic Councilwoman Helen Sears filed a formal declination of the GOP line in the March 16 special election to fill Hiram Monserrate's vacant Senate seat, a city Board of Elections spokeswoman confirmed.
A Senate Republican source confirmed the ex-councilwoman called earlier today to inform the minority of her intention to decline the unanimous nod she had received from the Queens GOP last Friday.
Her decision was attributed by the Republicans in no small part to the fact that she had failed to land another line, namely that of the Independence Party.
Trying to win as a turncoat Democrat in a district that is roughly seven-to-one Democratic is hard enough. Doing so with just the GOP line is nearly impossible, even if Hiram Monserrate manages to get onto the ballot as an independent candidate.
The Senate Republicans are disappointed, but resigned. They knew Sears' candidacy was a long shot - at best.