Sources tell NY1 that Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo and key union leaders are trying to bring a group of renegade state Senate Democrats back to the party.
As NY1 first reported in April, discussions are underway to reunify the state Senate Democrats with their counterparts in the group known as the Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC. Such a move would form a Democratic majority in the state Senate and marginalize Republican lawmakers.
Sources are telling NY1 that after Tuesday's meeting with the governor and the mayor, IDC leader Jeff Klein has tentatively agreed to rejoin the other Democrats after the elections. So there's an agreement in principle, but a lot has to happen before that can come to fruition.
In late 2012, Democrats won a numeric majority of seats in the state Senate, but bad blood between the five-member breakaway IDC group and the other Democrats has kept the two factions separate, even though they are all members of the same party.
Klein formed an alliance with Republicans that set up a co-leadership team between Klein and Republican leader Dean Skelos.
Fast forward to last month. Governor Andrew Cuomo, now up for re-election, went to the Working Families Party convention in Albany to secure its ballot line and pledged that he would work to reunite the two Democratic factions.
When asked to clarify when that meant, Cuomo told NY1 earlier this month, "We'll finish the legislative session. We'll then have an election year this year. We'll go through the elections, and then what we'll then talk about is next year, the reunification, not this year."
Apparently, that time frame was not good enough for union leaders and Working Families Party leaders. They want guarantees of reunification sooner rather than later. At least two members of the IDC are facing primaries from Democratic challengers, including Klein, who faces former State Attorney General Oliver Koppell.
Finally, the makeup of the Senate is complicated. There are 24 mainstream Democrats, five members of the IDC, two indicted Democratic senators and one Democrat who conferences with the Republicans. So on paper, enrolled Democrats could form the majority right now, but many of the people involved in these talks want to wait and see what the outcome is of this fall's elections before they possibly form new alliances. The Senate is not scheduled to be back in session until January, anyway.