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Senate Democrats engaged in internal leadership battle today

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.

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

[email protected]


Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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