After spending about two hours behind closed doors, the Senate Republicans appear to have selected Long Island Sen. John Flanagan as their new leader, replacing now former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was forced to give up his leadership post in the face of federal corruption charges.

Sen. Phil Boyle, a Long Islander like Skelos and Flanagan, confirmed the news in a tweet, in which he congratulated “my friend and colleague (Flanagan) on his ascension to Maj. Leader of the NYS Senate.” The tweet was quickly erased, but not before is was widely retweeted by members of the state Capitol press corps, and various Capitol watchers.

Nick Reisman, who has been monitoring the Senate Republicans’ closed-door confab, also says he has independely confirmed the news of Skelos’ demise, and Flanagan’s rise.

UPDATE: The first official statement on the leadership changeover in the Senate comes from Sen. Ken LaValle, another Long Island Republican, who had been a staunch Skelos supporter.

“I approached this matter with the goal of doing what is in the best interest of the people who elected me to represent them,” LaValle said. “This last week we have gone through the very involved process of selecting a new Majority Leader. Our Conference is comprised of intelligent, hard working individuals from across the state.”

“I fully support the Conference’s decision to elect my friend, and colleague, Senator John Flanagan as the New York State Senate Majority Leader. I believe that Senator Flanagan’s selection is in the best interest of not only the people of the First Senatorial District but residents from across New York State. I congratulate Senator John Flanagan, and know he will be a great Majority Leader.”

Sources say that Skelos has agreed to give up his leadership role, but will not at this point be resigning the Senate entirely – a decision that no doubt brought his colleagues a measure of relief.

Flanagan’s apparent victory comes at the loss of Sen. John DeFrancisco, of Syracuse, who was also in the running to replace Skelos, and has been far more public in campaigning for the job. Flanagan last week was one of 16 senators to sign on to statement of loyalty to Skelos that was distributed by the then-majority leader’s office. DeFrancisco’s name did not appear on that list.

At this moment, Senate Republicans remain behind closed doors in their conference room on the state Capitol’s third floor. There is so far no word as to who who serve as Flanagan’s No. 2 – or even if the currnet occupant of that post, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Tom Libous, of Binghamton, will be forced to give it up.

Libous cannot ascend to Skelos’ majority leader post, as he might normally do, due to the fact that he, too, is fighting a federal corruption charge. Also, Libous is battling terminal cancer, and is currently in Florida, where is he recuperating from back-to-back surgeries related to his cancer.

Sen. Cathy Young, of Olean, initially was mentioned as a potential replacement for Skeos. Young, who heads the Senate GOP’s fundraising arm, reportedly wanted to strike a deal with Flanagan that would have exchanged her support for the No. 2 post in the chamber.

There were numerous reports over the weekend that Skelos had been refusing to heed mounting calls to step aside from his seat unless the majority leader post remained on Long Island, in Flanagan’s hands. There was a furious upstate-downstate battle, which also pitted some of the more conservative (and anti-gun control) members against more liberal members – like Flanagan – who voted “yes” on the controversial SAFE Act.

Skelos also reportedly threatend to resign his seat altogether if he didn’t get his way in the leadership fight, which would have left his fellow Republicans in a significant lurch, due to their razor-thin 32-seat majority, which is cushioned only slightly by the addition of Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, of Brooklyn, who reportedly would have contemplated going back to the Democrats if the GOP no longer controlled the chamber outright.

It remains to be seen if Flanagan can weather criticism of being seen as Skelos’ hand-picked successor. Also, the Daily News reported in March that Flanagan has voted on bills that benefitted the clients of a firm where he is of counsel. But the senator has insisted he is not involved with those clients and there is no conflict of interest present because he does not represent any clients with business before the state.

Flanagan’s ascension leavesommittee he chairs – Education – without a leader at a time when education remains a very hot topic at the Capitol, thanks to the ongoing debate over the state’s teacher evaluation system and Common Core-related tests.