By Tom Precious
ALBANY – There is much spin going on this afternoon, but proponents backing the bid by Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins to become the new Senate minority leader say they are confident she will emerge victorious later this afternoon during a closed-door meeting in Manhattan among Senate Democrats.
The current Democratic leader, John Sampson, has been waging a non-stop fight to keep his job, but Stewart-Cousins, as of last night, had the backing of about 16 Democratic senators to win the post. Sen. Mike Gianaris of Queens is also pushing to become leader.
Backers of Stewart-Cousins, an African-American from Westchester County who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, say she is appealing to a cross-section of white and minority lawmakers from upstate and downstate. “Things can change,’’ a source close to the senator said this afternoon, noting final deal-making has not yet happened and senators might shift alliances during what could be a testy meeting.
Democrats are set to meet at 4:30 this afternoon to discuss the leadership situation. Backers of Stewart-Cousins, who represents Yonkers and a couple of other communities in Westchester County, say she would be the first woman to hold the one of the four top legislative leadership posts if she wins today’s vote by her colleagues.