A secret meeting in Hiram Monserrate's office ended just about twenty minutes ago; in the meeting were Democrats Eric Schneiderman, Carl Kruger, Bill Perkins, and Malcolm Smith's heir-apparent, John Sampson. After the meeting, Schneiderman met with Eric Adams; what's more, this group is aggressively trying to bring in Ruben Diaz. Interesting! So if Monserrate is onboard with the Republican coalition, why would he be meeting with a slew of Dems, most notably John Sampson? We spoke with Monserrate, and while he said he hadn't made up his mind, he also noted, "All the hysteria is unnecessary. I've always been clear: I'm a progressive Democrat." Monserrate's meetings seem to be somewhat ongoing; as the Senate showdown slows down, none of this bodes well for Republicans. And, as we mentioned yesterday, there's a movement to put Senator Sampson at the head of the caucus, so this isn't boding well for Malcolm Smith, either.
Update: Though it's been reported that the White House political director Patrick Gaspard has been on the phone with Albany, the rumor right now is that President Obama himself placed calls to both Monserrate and fellow defector Pedro Espada, Jr. — that's unconfirmed, but if true, it's presumably to coax them back into the Democrats' fold. There's also buzz that Obama might have spoken with another Democratic senator, Darrel Aubertine, who is reportedly considering a run for Congress.