I read with interest the City Hall News report this morning that the Senate Democrats are spending money to assist incumbents against potentially tough primary challengers in so-called “safe” districts where they are all but certain not to be in any danger of losing to the Republicans.

According to Chris Bragg, the DSCC transferred $9,500 to the campaign committee of Queens Sen. Shirley Huntley, who faces a primary challenge from the better-funded Lynn Nunes.

(Not surprisingly, Nunes thinks this is a waste of hard-fought campaign cash, arguing it should be used for the purpose for which it was raised: To help oust GOP members and grow the majority).

In addition, the DSCC spent $7,811 to assist Harlem Sen. Bill Perkins, who is facing off against Basile Smikle, who also criticized the conference’s decision to spend money on this race.

The DSCC had no comment. Perhaps because this practice is in direct opposition to what Paul Rivera, communications director for Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, told me last December:

“The conference opposes primaries against its members in principle. Whether or not we will get involved in primaries depends on whether we think they will effect us in controlling the chamber.”

This sets up a rather dangerous precedent, and opens the Democrats up to all sorts of questions.

First, however, this isn’t new. In 2008, the conference spent cash to defend then-Sen. Efrain Gonzalez (who was under indictment at the time) against his challenger, Pedro Espada Jr. This makes some sense, since Espada had a history – even then – of playing footsie with the Republicans.

But the Democrats also spent cash – perhaps not as much as they might have (a gripe Gonzalez also made) – to defend former Senate Minority Leader Marty Connor, who was ousted by now-Sen. Dan Squadron with the help of the WFP and Mayor Bloomberg.

Now that the DSCC is back in the business of helping incumbents in safe-seat primaries, you’ve got to wonder: Will there be help for Sampson’s “friend” Espada, who is arguably facing the toughest intra-party fight of all, with the WFP, Bill Samuels and AG Andrew Cuomo all gunning for him?