After weeks of holding out, it looks as if the “Gang of Three” — renegade State Senate Dems Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada, and Ruben Diaz — have cut a deal with Malcolm Smith to unify the Democrats into a working majority when the Legislature convenes in January. But what is the deal? A couple of sources say Pedro Espada, the most sinister of the trio, will actually be Majority Leader and Smith will be “President Pro Tempore.” (Liz Benjamin says so, and she’s pretty reliable.) We’ll update when this clears up. Meantime Dean Skelos has congratulated Smith on succeeding him, so whatever happened the Democrats will exercise their majority in the Senate.
(Update:) Looks like that’s the deal — they’re splitting the two jobs Joe Bruno had when he ran the joint. We’ll call some parliamentarians later and see who does what. The Observer says Espada will also be vice chair of the rules committee, Kruger may chair finance, and Diaz may chair aging.)
(Update 2:) Albany’s Legislative Gazette says Kruger described Diaz, who’d previously said he wouldn’t support any leadership that moved a gay-marriage bill, “is very comfortable” with the current deal. Also, Capitol Confidential does some quick State Constitution-scanning and says “there isn’t a mention of the Senate Majority,” but it does specify a Pres Pro Tem. Maybe there’s an unofficial power-sharing arrangement, with the understanding that if Smith crosses him, Espada will fuck him up.
(Update 3🙂 Hmm. Newsday says Espada will “oversee” the finance committee and Kruger will be its chairman “with a separate budget.” They do things strangely in Albany.