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Bruno says he'll keep top post

State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who recently revealed he is under federal investigation for his outside business interests, predicted Tuesday he will be re-elected today by his colleagues for another term as the Legislature's top Republican.

"I am confident of that," said Bruno, after emerging from a 90-minute, closed-door meeting with his fellow GOP senators the day before the Legislature convenes for its 2007 session.

Senators during the day also said they are backing Bruno, who has not been accused of any crime and has not been identified by federal prosecutors as the target.
State Sen. Dale Volker, R-Depew, the most senior member of the Western New York delegation, said he saw no signs of trouble for the re-election of Bruno, who first became majority leader following a coup he helped engineer in 1994.

But one of Bruno's colleagues was not backing down Tuesday in calling on the top Republican to step aside.

"I think there is a cloud over [Bruno]," said State Sen. John Bonacic, a Hudson Valley Republican who is the sole GOP lawmaker to publicly call for Bruno's ouster since the majority leader on Dec. 19 revealed the FBI investigation. Bonacic said he did not raise his concerns during Tuesday's meeting.

He also said his call for Bruno's resignation two weeks ago was not designed to help anyone seeking to succeed Bruno.
"I really thought he should step aside temporarily until that cloud is removed, for the benefit of the conference because, as I see it, if our majority leader bleeds, the [Republican] conference bleeds."

e-mail: tprecious@buffnews.com

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