Senate Democrats' Awkward Attempt To Quell Turmoil Creates More Turmoil

BOSTON -- Desperate to move on from months of chaos as the FBI continues to investigate their leaders, Democrats' ham-handed attempt at a "unity" press conference was a complete flop. After questions turned to the awkward topic of the timing of the transition of power, the current Senate President walked out of the press conference.

"The turmoil created by months of scandals and the ongoing FBI investigations isn't over for Senate Democrats," said MassGOP Chairman Kirsten Hughes. "It’s no surprise Democrats still can’t manage to get out of their own way, given that their only noteworthy achievement this entire session is voting to give themselves a massive pay raise.”  

VIDEO: Senate President Chandler Walks Out Of Press Conference When Questions Turn To Transition Of Power:

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Spilka claimed the votes to be Senate president, but Chandler wants to serve out the year. It’s awkward
By Michael Levenson

Senate President Harriette L. Chandler said Thursday she hopes to serve until the end of her term in January, but her presumptive successor refused to endorse that timeline, setting up a potentially divisive battle over the transfer of power in a chamber that has been roiled by uncertainty.

At an awkward press conference, Senator Karen E. Spilka, who has claimed sufficient votes to become the next president, trumpeted a “new era” in the Senate, while Chandler, who was just elected to the presidency in December, said she wants to remain in the post until her term expires Jan. 2.

Asked when the transfer would take place, Spilka spoke first, saying she had not discussed the timing with Chandler and other senators but wants to ensure a “respectful, smooth transition.”

“People need to be together on this,” said Spilka, surrounded by a half-dozen Democratic colleagues.

At that, Chandler interjected, batting down any notion that she would be pushed aside earlier than anticipated.

“This would not be the best time to transfer any power,” Chandler said. “My hope is we will continue to go along as we are. I hope to serve until the end of this term and then we will transfer power over quickly to Senator Spilka as the new Senate president.”

Asked if she agrees with Chandler’s timing, Spilka pointedly avoided a direct answer.

“Again, we will discuss the respectful, smooth transition,” she said. “This is something all of our members need to be a part of, as well.”

A minute later, Chandler walked out of the news conference outside her office, saying, “I think we have to go to our session,” as Spilka continued answering questions.

The uncomfortable tableau showed how the Senate continues to be gripped by swirling internal power divisions nearly four months after Stanley C. Rosenberg stepped down as Senate president amid allegations that his husband sexually assaulted and harassed four men and meddled in the Senate’s official business.