It was a tough budget process this year. And it was particularly tough in the State Senate which has two ideologically opposite conferences locked in a power sharing arrangement to form the majority. The coalition has come close to falling apart before, and this year was no exception, this time over the issue of campaign finance reform. Republicans oppose it, the breakaway IDC favors it. In the end, they went with a pilot program just for the Comptroller’s race that just about everybody hates.

So could reconciliation be on the horizon between the IDC and the mainline Democrats? Sources say Democrat Mike Gianaris of Queens was poised to meet with IDC Leader Jeff Klein Wednesday to discuss a co-leadership which would bring the IDC back into the Democratic fold and terminate the experimental government in the Senate. The meeting was canceled, but clearly these kinds of conversations are now happening.

Gianaris did not deny the meeting was supposed to take place, but declined to comment further noting the “sensitivity” of this subject. He and Klein have not met face to face in years. Gianaris has said previously that the Mainline Democratic position has been that they want the IDC back, and they are eager to work with them. But Gianaris has also said previously that should the IDC come back, they would have as much power in the Democratic conference as any five members ( or actually he had said four, since this was a couple of years ago and there were four not five IDC-ers ).

So what has changed? Well, there is a growing feeling within the Mainline Democratic Conference that enough is enough already. Senators Diaz, Espaillat ans others have been vocal during conference meetings about how it is time to reconcile and give Klein “what he wants” in order to bring him back. There is a feeling among some that if they don’t bring Klein back soon his power only grows, setting up the possibility that he could run primaries against guys like Senator Tim Kennedy ( D – Buffalo ) this year and win. One source says there is also a concern that Gustavo Rivera ( D- Bronx ) might be vulnerable as well.

Lining up against this reconciliation idea are Liz Krueger ( D – Manhattan ), Gustavo Rivera, Andrea Stewart-Cousins ( D-Yonkers ) and Bill Perkins ( D – Harlem ).