11:10 am Nov. 8, 2012
This could take a while.
There's a lot of speculation about the lobbying efforts going on behind the scenes to convince at least five Democratic state senators not to break away from their party and give control of the State Senate to the Republicans.
I'm told one of those senators, Simcha Felder, has no meetings scheduled with Republicans nor Democrats, and one isn't expected for some time. He's said in the past he'll caucus with whichever party helps him deliver more for his district, which, in a way, is circular logic since he'll help decide who is in the majority.
The other four senators are part of the Independent Democratic Caucus, all of whom all easily won re-election this past week and have, so far, refused to speak publicly.
The exact number of Democrats is still uncertain too, with two races hinging on the counting of paper ballots.
Steve Cohen, the former top aide to Governor Cuomo, said on Fred Dicker's radio show this morning that Felder's decision probabaly matters less than that of Jeff Klein, who leads the IDC.
"It's an interesting scenario," Cohen said of Felder. "I think ultimately it's not going to make much difference because of the Jeff Klein situation."
Cohen said it was a win for the governor either way, since both sides ran on their ability to cooperate with Cuomo, but that Democratic control would require the party's leader John Sampson to make certain changes within the conference, to prevent the kind of disorder that plagued the party's control when it briefly held the chamber after the 2008 elections.
"Just from an outsider's perspective, this is an opportunity to impose a kind of discipline and order on your conference," Cohen said. "If they don't want to do that, then I have a hunch that whatever the numbers are, the Republicans are going to be in control. If they can do that, there are going to have to be structural changes. They're going to have to impose a method to actually make decisions and govern."
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