Still Watching The IDC
From the morning memo earlier today, which you can subscribe to on the right-hand side:
Traditionally liberal and Democratic constituencies seem split over the current leadership battle in the state Senate.
Just like the rest of us, some are taking a wait-and-see approach on how things will shake out.
To recap: Republicans have control over 31 seats after Democrat Simcha Felder pledged his support for the GOP conference.
If Republicans are able to win the newly created 46th Senate District, then they have the magic 32, taking the spotlight off Sen. Jeff Klein and the Independent Democratic Conference.
But Cecilia Tkaczyk is able to sustain her post-Election Day lead over George Amedore (she now trails) and Sen. Stephen Saland ultimately falls to Democrat Terry Gipson (which appears likely), then Democrats would have a numerical majority.
If that were to pass, then focus will become intense on Klein and the IDC, a four-person breakaway group.
Klein insists that the IDC will not dissolve, setting up the possibility of some coalition-style government. Senate Democrats will cry coup if the IDC (or, say just one IDCer) votes to keep a Republican in the majority leader spot, while the rogue lawmakers will point to their stack of policy-laden reports pushing government efficiency as a sign that they just want to govern well.
Senate Democrats hope pressure from key groups will provide some political backing in the effort.
The labor group 32BJ SEIU’s president said in a statement that Democrats won the majority in the chamber fair and square and are needed to enact an agenda that “represents the interests of middle-class and working class families.”
“The voters of New York have spoken, and we expect a Democratic majority in the state Senate,” said Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. “With a Senate majority that represents the interests of middle-class and working families, New York can move forward on increasing the minimum wage; investing in infrastructure development; ensuring fair elections and other policies to improve government and create a broadly shared prosperity in our state.”
This, of course, comes after Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Democrat, said publicly that he hopes his fellow Bronx resident Klein will return to the fold.
Like 32BJ, he wants a Senate that will push for issues like a minimum wage increase and other long-sought liberal goals that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled in recent months he would like to get done later next year.
“The Republicans are horrible on most of these issues that we care about,” Dinowitz told Capital New York. “If we really had a Democratic majority, we could do a lot of good things to affect public policy.”
And yet some organizations hoping to influence policy are holding their fire when it comes to the partisan question of who should control the Senate.
NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s Andrea Miller said in a phone interview that she’s appreciated recent statements from both Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Queens, and Republican Sen. Tom Libous of Binghamton, when it comes to women’s health issues.
“The best case scenario for us is a clear indication from leadership that womens’ reproductive health is an issue they will address and respond to the voters expectations and needs,” she said.
Recall that for most of the legislative session, Democrats sought to force uncomfortable votes for the Senate GOP through hostile amendments on women’s reproductive rights, gun control measures and other issues designed to both highlight their policy differences and force the marginals on the Republican side to take tough votes.
And then there’s Felder, an Orthodox Jew who unseated Sen. David Storobin but has decided to side with the Senate Republicans.
Brooklyn Democratic leader Frank Seddio is furious and now there’s talk of removing Felder from the party altogether, leading Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind to defend Felder’s decision. Hikind popped up on Fred Dicker’s morning radio show to call Felder a man of integrity and a “real mensch.”
In response to yesterday’s morning memo that questioned the wisdom of jettisoning Felder from the enrollment lists and whether the Democratic Party was becoming an “exclusive club” Sen. Liz Krueger took a hard line.
“It’s not that exclusive, you just have to be a Democrat,” she said through a spokesman.
If that’s the test, it highlights how Senate Democrats have little patience for playing footsy with the other side of the aisle. And should an IDC lawmaker — remember you only need one of them to vote “yes” on the GOP leadership to get to 32 — then likely that legislator may face some tough partisan questions.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on November 16, 2012 at 10:51 am, and is filed under Democrats. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|