From the Daily News:
Former Democratic Councilwoman Helen Sears was unanimously nominated by the Queens Republicans last night to carry the GOP banner in the March 16 special election for Hiram Monserrate's Senate seat, sources familiar with the proceedings confirmed.
The Independence and Conservative parties are expected to decide by the end of the day on whether they will also nominate Sears.
If they do, the name of the veteran Queens Democrat will appear on three ballot lines on election day, while Assemblyman Jose Peralta will likely have two: The Democratic and Working Families Party lines.
The wild card here is Monserrate, whose supporters are rushing to collect 3,000 signatures by midnight Monday in order to get him on the ballot as an independent candidate.
Actually, Monserrate is going to need to collect a lot more than the threshold number of signatures, given how worried the Democrats are at this point.
"Panic" was the word employed by a Senate source I spoke with early this morning. It's a safe bet the Democrats are going to employ every weapon in their considerable arsenal to try to block their expelled former colleague from getting on the ballot.
Why? If you thought the five-plus weeks of deadlock in the Senate last summer was tedious, consider five-plus MONTHS of deadlock, which is what Sears' election is likely to bring for the remainder of the 2010 legislative session.
Sears has had numerous conversations with the Senate Republicans, GOP sources confirm, and has agreed to conference with them if she wins. That means the chamber will be tied and neither side will have the majority.