But by Sunday evening, no deal had been struck. The governor and other leaders were trying again to win over Cox. With a district stretching from his suburban Sacramento home northeast up the Sierra, he represents some of the most conservative voters in the state.
As the night wore on, Cox, 70, grew peeved at what seemed a move by Democrats to wait out the Republicans in another all-night session.
"Let's do something!" Cox grumbled from his desk in the red-carpeted Senate chamber.
Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) responded that "perhaps Mr. Cox wants to dance."
"Who's going to lead?" shouted another member.
Throughout the unusual weekend session, the political drama was intense within GOP caucuses. In a closed meeting Saturday, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore of Irvine tried to unseat the Republican leader, Mike Villines of Clovis, but received no support, according to DeVore.
DeVore said he then resigned his leadership position as a party whip.
"I was not able to convince my caucus to change or do anything," DeVore said.
The internal jostling was harder for Cogdill, the Senate minority leader. His caucus formed the strongest resistance to the plan, demanding more from Democrats. At one closed-door meeting, Cogdill offered his resignation to his Senate colleagues, but they did not accept it, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Times staff writers Evan Halper and Michael Rothfeld contributed to this report.