The ongoing feud about control of the state Senate took another turn last week.
Remind me: what’s going on?
Even though there are 32 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the Senate, Republicans control the body because nine of the Democrats support the Republican leadership. Eight of the nine are members of the Independent Democratic Conference and they’ve been under pressure recently because of the Senate lulu payroll scandal–three of them were paid for leadership positions they didn’t hold. Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, the ninth defector, said that he’d rejoin the Democratic Party if they did, too.
So what’s new?
Now, all 18 Congressional Democrats from New York echoed that call, penning a letter to the IDC asking them to unify Senate Democrats against Trump. While it’s unclear if this letter is a precursor to action, six of the eight IDC members are in Democratic congressional districts. If Congressional Democrats really wanted to take on the IDC, they could do a lot.
What could happen?
Especially vulnerable are four of the IDC’s New York members: Sen. Marisol Alcantara (Upper Manhattan), Brooklyn Sen. Jesse Hamilton, and Queens Senators Jose Peralta and Tony Avella. IDC Leader Jeff Klein and Rockland/Westchester Senator David Carlucci are also in Democratic congressional districts but are seen as stronger candidates.
There are already rumors circulating that Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries might want to find a challenger for Jesse Hamilton. Queens Rep. Joe Crowley (also the leader of the county Democratic Party) is said to be eying candidates to run against Peralta and Avella.
Marisol Alcantara is a more interesting case. She was Congressman Adriano Espaillat’s chosen successor for the Senate seat after he got elected to Congress and is already seen as vulnerable. If Adriano Espaillat really wanted to take the IDC down, he could exert a lot of leverage. However, just a couple weeks ago, Gerson Borrero reported that Espaillat could retaliate against Senate Democrat Michael Gianaris if he supported a primary challenge to Alcantara.
Given that context, one has to wonder: how unified are Congressional Democrats in their approach to the IDC really?