“Shelly excelled at creating a governing style that would encourage ambitious, intelligent people to leave,” one former member of the Assembly said.
That Mr. Morelle himself is not considered an obvious successor is indicative of the sometimes fragmented nature of the Democratic caucus. In the Assembly, the downstate delegation is particularly powerful, occupying about 60 percent of the Assembly’s 150 seats spread across Long Island and New York City’s five boroughs; most are held by Democrats.
Accordingly, members from the city have typically dominated the speakership, while majority leaders like Mr. Morelle and Mr. Bragman came from upstate. That was in part a salve for upstate legislators who were effectively locked out of the leadership of their chamber because of its city-centric makeup.