Gang of Three Still Leaves Smith Short

ALBANY—Senators in the now "gang of three" remain uncommitted for a Senate leadership vote after a marathon meeting Tuesday afternoon.

"What's coming out of the meeting is that they have not committed," spokesman Juda Engelmayer said. He confirmed Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate did not attend the session. "I think Mr. Monserrate might have counted himself out of the group."

Engelmayer could not confirm another report that the group was calling for a statewide referendum on gay marriage.

Originally, four state senators – Carl Kruger of Brooklyn, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Monserrate of Queens – grouped before the general election, saying they were forming an independent caucus.

The day after polls closed and Democrats found themselves with a narrow chamber majority for the first time in 40 years, Smith proclaimed his security-but was only flanked by 26 members.

The caucus was reduced to a gang of three after Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate was reported to have cut a deal with Smith while in Puerto Rico at the "Somos El Futuro" conference. Senators Espada and Diaz were reported to say they would only support a Democrat as majority leader, but Espada reportedly met with Republican Majority Leader (until January) Dean Skelos as Smith was wooing Monserrate. Diaz then said he would vote for a Democrat, but not one who supports same-sex marriage. (Smith says he is laser-focused on the economy and that gay marriage isn't a priority, but he has expressed support for it in the past.)

But today's action means Smith still has not secured enough votes to become majority leader in January.

Gang of Three Still Leaves Smith Short