Roster of seven set to take on IDC
Mar 06, 2018 | 17068 views | 0 0 comments | 1642 1642 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There's seven challengers to members of the State Senate who joined the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), and on Sunday at Medger Evers College in Brooklyn they all shared a stage with each other to accept the endorsement of the Working Families Party.

In 2011, State Senator Jeffrey Klein of the Bronx resigned as deputy minority leader, and with three other Democratic state senators, including Diane Savino (Staten Island and Brooklyn), David Valesky (Syracuse) and David Carlucci (Westchester and Rockland counties), announced the formation of the IDC.

Klein crafted an agreement with Republican leader Dean Skelos that would give IDC members important committee chairmanships. In 2012, Democrats took control of the State Senate, but Simcha Felder, a newly elected Democrat from Brooklyn, announced he would caucus with the Republican Party.

Klein then recruited Malcom Smith of Queens to the IDC and agreed to caucus with the Republicans. The gambit failed after Smith went to jail for a bribery scheme to get on the Republican line in a New York City mayoral election.

In February 2014, State Senator Tony Avella of Queens officially joined the IDC. Republicans again won control of the State Senate, and Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins approached Klein about re-joining the Democrats, but the IDC continued to caucus with Republicans.

The IDC would eventually add Marisol Alcantara (Manhattan) and Jesse Hamilton (Brooklyn) to their ranks, followed by Jose Peralta (Queens).

Confused yet?!

The state senators in the IDC argue that by working with Republicans they are able to bring back more for their constituents and districts. Critics argue that they are essentially usurping the will of the voters by getting elected as Democrats only to caucus with Republicans, holding up progressive legislation that would help the middle class, women and immigrants, to name a few.

That divide has turned into a chasm with the election of Donald Trump.

Now opponents of the IDC are trying to mount credible challenges in the Democratic Primary in September to either unseat IDC members, or at least persuade them it is in their best interest to rejoin mainline Democrats in Albany.

“Let’s not mince words, there are only two types of state senators in Albany” said Zellnor Myrie, who is challenging Hamilton. “Those that caucus with the party of Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and those that caucus with the party of Donald J. Trump.”

Candidates on Sunday repeatedly linked the IDC with Trump.

“The bigot in the White House announced his first Muslim ban” said Jessica Ramos, a former de Blasio aide who is running against Peralta. “That very same day, Jose Peralta announced his intention to join the IDC. Politics in my district, in my neighborhood changed forever.

“I’m running because the Queens that I grew up in, that I love, that I’m raising two boys in, is not being represented,” she added.

Th other five challengers to the IDC include John Duane (Avella), Jasmine Robinson (Savino), Robert Jackson (Alcantara), Alessandra Biaggi (Klein), and Rachel May (Valesky). Only Carlucci so far is running unopposed in the primary.

So there you have it, you're seven IDC challengers.

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