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Onondaga County's Assembly members on who should be the next speaker

The New York State Assembly chamber at the capitol in Albany.

There is plenty of campaigning going on within the state Assembly from members hoping to become the next speaker. This after the long-time leader of the chamber faces criminal corruption charges.

Two of Onondaga County's lawmakers in the chamber say they haven’t picked sides yet, while one announced his choice Friday.

Assembly members Joseph Lentol and Keith Wright have dropped their candidacies to become the new leader of the state Assembly. Majority Leader Joseph Morelle did so as well on Friday:

Over the past several days Assemblyman Heastie and I have discussed at length how to advance the best interests of the citizens of our state by making the New York Assembly more inclusive and member-driven. Carl and I have served together and have been close friends for 15 years. I have the utmost confidence in his ability to unite our members and move the institution forward. He will have my full support.

Lentol, saying he doesn't have enough support, is backing Assemblyman Carl Heastie of the Bronx, now the clear front-runner. The other remaining candidate is Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan of Queens.

Both are Democrats. Party members collectively have a two-thirds majority in the chamber. The Democratic conference agreed earlier this week to replace Silver as speaker, with Morelle as acting speaker until they elect a replacement, scheduled for Feb. 10.

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, a Democrat who represents a sizeable portion of the city of Syracuse, is publicly backing downstate colleague Heastie. 

"Today Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli announces his support for Assemblyman Carl Heastie for Speaker of the NYS Assembly and urges a vote next week to finalize his election," Magnarelli spokeswomen Christine Fix said Friday in a statement.

Sam Roberts, who represents part of Syracuse, said Thursday night before Morelle's announcement that the three had all reached out to him, but he's not naming his choice yet.

"Everybody’s jockeying for support," he said. "So it is what it is."

Roberts says his desire in a new speaker is someone that will evenly give favor to both upstate and downstate issues.

"I’m just making sure that there’s fairness and equality spread across the whole state. I don’t want anybody to favor this over that. Again, we’ve got our piece of the pie. We’re doing pretty good," said Roberts in an interview.

Assemblyman Al Stirpe, a North Syracuse-based Democrat, said all the candidates are strong, but it’s important the new Speaker represents the entire Democratic caucus. "That person has to represent our conference, our views. And what we think should happen in the budget. And they don’t get to do what they want to do personally," he said. "They have to do what the conference as a whole wants them to do." 

He said other member’s potential wrong-doings hasn’t been a concern for him yet.

"I haven’t thought about that at all, but I’m sure that will be one of the questions that they get during the presentations they make," he told WRVO.

Those presentations will come next week, once Sheldon Silver steps down as speaker, a position he held for two decades. Silver is being forced out because he’s been arrested on corruption charges, which he denies.

Both Stirpe and Roberts insist other affairs in Albany are moving along as scheduled, despite the leadership gap.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.