Malcolm Smith Says He Has Enough Votes to be Majority Leader

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Democratic State Senator Malcolm Smith of Queens says he's confident he'll have the 32 votes he needs to be the chamber's majority leader. WNYC's Elaine Rivera reports.

REPORTER: After weeks of infighting led by three renegade senators, Smith emerged from the latest of many closed-door meetings to say he has 29 members behind him. He contends he'll get the additional three votes he needs by January to land the majority leadership.

Smith has come under fire in recent days for the alleged deal he made with three dissidents who threatened to vote with Republicans if they didn't get more clout in the Senate. They include Bronx Senator Ruben Diaz, Brooklyn Senator Carl Kruger and Bronx Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr.

Governor Paterson has said he supports Smith but largely has stayed out of the fray even though the turmoil among Democrats has undermined Paterson's efforts to get lawmakers to focus on the massive budget problems facing the state.

For WNYC, I'm Elaine Rivera.