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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

With its first minority, breakaway Senate coalition takes shape

Senate Democratic leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) at

Senate Democratic leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) at a news conference in the Capitol in Albany. (June 8, 2009) Photo Credit: AP, 2009

That sound you just heard was another shoe dropping in the apparent plan to piece together an odd coalition to keep the state Senate in Republican control.

Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) will join a small group of breakaway Democrats looking to form an alliance with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), a spokesman for Smith said.

Notably, Smith becomes the first minority in the now-five-person group that calls itself the Independent Democratic Conference.

This is just the latest in a series of bumbles for Democrats who found themselves leading in 33 of the 63 Senate districts on Election Day.

First, Simcha Felder, elected as a Democrat in Brooklyn, said he’d join the Republican conference.

Then, a recount in a too-close-too-call race for a Catskills-Capital Region district has ground to a near halt, with Republican attorneys trying to block hundreds of ballots that could toss the race to the Dems.

Finally, the IDC — led by Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), who broke off from the rest of the Senate Democrats in 2011 — have rolled out a series of statements in the last week indicating a deal with Republicans was near.

It all goes back to the what Skelos repeatedly told me the day after the elections, when the GOP looked to be in trouble: “I'm saying, we are going to have an operating majority on Jan. 1.”

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