Among the contenders is Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-Newfane, who is holding a secret meeting tonight with the two other major contenders, senators Dean Skelos of Nassau County and Thomas Libous of Binghamton.
Skelos and Libous have long coveted the majority leader job, and they have worked for years lining up backers for the day that Bruno retired. Maziarz, however, is seen as a candidate who could emerge from a fight between Skelos and Libous in what is already shaping up as a downstate versus upstate battle between Republicans.
In Maziarz's favor is that he comes from a safe political district and is among the top fundraisers among rank-and-file lawmakers.
Maziarz would not say if he is an active candidate for Bruno's job.
"It's clearly a leadership position and it's something I clearly would love to see someone from Western New York be under active consideration," he said tonight.
Obviously, this is a story we'll continue to follow. Funny, we went from "is George even running for re-election" this morning to ... "George Maziarz, majority leader?" this evening ...