An Uneasy Peace
From today’s Morning Memo:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senate Democratic leaders, labor union officials and even liberal activists are hailing the IDC’s announcement that it will rejoin the “regular” Senate Dems after the November elections.
But if this new relationship had a Facebook status, it would definitely be: “It’s complicated.”
First of all, this won’t be a straight reunification, but rather a new version of the power-sharing deal IDC Leader Jeff Klein struck with Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos back in 2013.
Klein has repeatedly said in interviews since the big announcement yesterday afternoon (made, by the way, via press release and without much fanfare) that the IDC will “live on” and “remain in tact.”
In other words, both Klein and whoever is leading the Senate Dems in 2015 – presumably the current leader, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins – will have to jointly agree on everything that comes to the Senate floor for a vote.
Also, as Capitol Confidential so neatly pointed out, the numbers in the Senate chamber at the moment mean that no one – not the Democrats OR the Republicans – has a clean majority without the IDC.
And no one really knows how those numbers will change after the November elections, which is why this deal won’t official go through until then – assuming it holds.
Also, keep in mind that there’s no guarantee a true Democrat-controlled majority would be able to pass all this progressive legislation everyone keeps talking about.
For example, neither Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. nor Sen. Simcha Felder (assuming he returns to the Democratic fold, too) will support a taxpayer-funded campaign finance system or strengthening abortion rights.
So, that’s two votes right there that the Senate Dems would have to find elsewhere if they want to pass two top priorities for both Cuomo and the liberal activist members of the WFP.
But it’s not 100 percent clear if the primary challengers who have already announced their intentions to run – most notably Klein’s opponent, former NYC Councilman Oliver Koppell; and Sen. Tony Avella’s opponent, former NYC Comptroller John Liu – will stand down.
So far, Koppell is saying he’ll proceed as planned with his primary campaign against Klein, in part because he’s “skeptical” that the IDC leader will actually go through with his pledge to share power with his fellow Democrats.
It’s likely that if Koppell insists on soldiering on, the unions (which are already divided between him and Klein) and the WFP will slowly back away from him, leaving him without much support in his quest.
It could be a different story with Liu, who is hard-charging and ambitious and trying to work his way back into an elected post after coming in fourth in the 2013 NYC mayoral Democratic primary.
Unlike Koppell, Liu has the support of his home borough’s Democratic organization – in fact, Queens party leaders recruited him to challenge Avella as a punishment for the senator’s recent defection to the IDC.
And several unions that were key in negotiating the WFP endorsement deal of Cuomo that started the Senate reunification ball rolling – SEIU 1199 and HTC – will likely stick with Liu regardless of the IDC’s new power-sharing agreement, according to a labor source.
As for the other IDC members, their primary challengers were less far along in the process, and so their nascent campaigns are easier to kill in the cradle. But their departure from the field is not yet set in stone.
For example, MTA Board Member Allen Cappelli hasn’t yet agreed to terminate his nascent campaign to topple IDC member Diane Savino, a Staten Island senator.
And in Syracuse, Common Councilor Jean Kessner, who just picked up some key support from Assemblyman Sam Roberts in her fledgling challenge to Sen. Dave Valesky, also hasn’t yet formally ended her run.
She did, however, welcome the news of the IDC-Dem reunification and told the Syracuse Post-Standard that she’s likely to back down, saying: “(U)nless some really crazy glitch comes up, then we’re all set.”
Sen. David Carlucci, the IDC’s youngest member, reportedly has been the most anxious to see his conference strike a deal with the regular Democrats so he can potentially avoid a primary challenge from Clarkstown Councilwoman Stephanie Hausner.
According to a source familiar with these talks, Carlucci informed the Rockland County Democratic Party’s executive committee members two days ago that he would leave the IDC if a reunification deal failed to materialize.
The party had declined to endorse Carlucci this fall, and was flirting with backing Hausner.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on June 26, 2014 at 8:05 am, and is filed under Democrats, IDC, Jeff Klein, State Senate, Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|