With 27 Behind Him, Smith Proclaims His Security

ALBANY—Emerging from a closed-door session, Senate Democrats affirmed that Malcolm Smith will remain their leader as they assume the chamber's

ALBANY—Emerging from a closed-door session, Senate Democrats affirmed that Malcolm Smith will remain their leader as they assume the chamber's majority in January.

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Twenty-seven members showed up today for the session, and unanimously supported a resolution to "reaffirm their confidence in my leadership," Smith said.

"I was flattered by it," he said after State Senator Bill Perkins gamely tried to start a chant of Smith’s name.

To be elected majority leader, Smith would need 32 votes, or every Democrat in the chamber whose race has been confirmed.

That's the 27. Then there's the gang of four – Pedro Espada Jr., Ruben Diaz Sr., Carl Kruger and Hiram Monserrate – who opted not to attend. And Joe Addabbo was also not in the room – but according to State Senator Jose Serrano, an old compatriot from the City Council, he's still "in his district thanking his voters." (The Dems are also still holding out hope that James Gennaro will oust will oust State Senator Frank Padavan.)
A spokesman for the gang, Juda Engelmayer, said the gang of four was not committed to Smith. "They have not made a decision, they have not reached out," he said. "They have met today in New York to discuss their plans."

It's not clear what they want, or how potent a force they are. During his press conference, Smith characterized the group as just a caucus, nothing more. "We have a lot of caucuses," he said. "We have an upstate caucus, a suburban caucus, a black caucus, and an independent caucus."

After the scrum, Senator Liz Krueger expressed confidence the mini-rebellion would blow over. "I have not seen anything in writing or spoken by those senators to date. They're not leaving," she said. "All they've done is put out a press release."

With 27 Behind Him, Smith Proclaims His Security