Republican State Senator Martin Golden claimed yesterday that the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference would undoubtedly caucus again with the GOP in the upper house of the state legislature next year–mainly because shared principles and anger over continued primary challenges to IDC leader State Senator Jeffrey Klein and State Senator Tony Avella.
At the celebration of the opening of his re-election campaign office, Mr. Golden told the Observer that the agreement between the IDC and the mainline Democrats forged in June would not survive past November, when he predicted that the Republicans would recover the majority in the State Senate. Mr. Golden, a Brooklyn lawmaker, added that the five members of the IDC were enraged that former Councilman Oliver Koppell and ex-Comptroller John Liu had not dropped their challenges to Mr. Klein and Mr. Avella respectively, which Mr. Golden claimed was supposed to have been part of the deal.
“They promised there would be no primaries, and they didn’t keep their promise,” Mr. Golden said. “I think Senator Klein is quite upset and that Senator Savino is quite upset and that the rest of the IDC is quite upset.”
The IDC made a deal with the Republicans in 2012 that allowed the GOP to retain partial control of the State Senate, despite elected Democrats outnumbering elected Republicans.
Mr. Golden said that the GOP would welcome the IDC members back with open arms when the legislature reconvenes in January 2015, saying his caucus recognized that the splinter faction–and Mr. Klein, its leader, in particular–had been subject to “threats” from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and their party peers during negotiations earlier this year. He added that he believed the IDC and the Republicans ultimately share the same conservative values.
“I don’t think they ever swung away. I think they were put in a hard place, and threatened in June,” he said. “He was threatened by more than just the governor. By his Democratic co-party members.”
“They want to do the same things we do,” Mr. Golden continued.
The senator, however, would not reveal the source of his information.
“I’m not going to get into discussions I’ve had with my colleagues,” Mr. Golden said. “All I can tell you is I know they’re not happy.”
But Ms. Savino, speaking on behalf of the IDC, said that her delegation is committed to staying with the Democrats to pass a host of liberal issues.
“Maybe Senator Golden hasn’t read the newspaper. The Independent Democratic Conference made a decision after the legislative session ended to create a coalition with the Democrats next session and it had nothing to do with primaries since two of our members are facing challenges,” Ms. Savino told the Observer. “While we were able to come together to pass medical marijuana, a minimum wage increase and the SAFE Act, the Democrats and the IDC share common ground on key legislative issues that must move forward including real, meaningful campaign finance reform, the DREAM Act and the 10-point Women’s Agenda.”
In June, however, Ms. Savino said that the IDC was leaving the door open to rejoining the Republicans should the GOP regain the majority.
“We’ve said we will see what happens in November,” she said.