Cunningham on Why Ruben Diaz Has Leverage

Democratic State Senator Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, who told Danny Hakim earlier today that he is planning to run on both the Democratic and Republican tickets in his district (he only has competition on the Democratic side) is becoming a bit like the Joe Lieberman of Albany.

Diaz is a deeply religious Pentecostal Christian, and Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew. In the last few years, Lieberman hasbroken with national Democrats over foreign policy consistently (and is currently a surrogate for John McCain), while Diaz is opposed to both gay marriage and abortion. Also, depending on how many seats Democrats pick up this November, Diaz could be a Man With Leverage, which Lieberman was after winning re-election in 2006.

Bill Cunningham, who spent quite a few years in Albany, has a word of caution for any Democrat that expresses displeasure that Diaz publicly repudiates part of the party’s platform.

“If the Democrats were to read him the riot act now, they would be doing the Republicans a favor. There will be a number of districts where some Democratic voters agree with Diaz and the idea that a conservative Democrat was not welcomed in the party will not play well there.”

Cunningham on Why Ruben Diaz Has Leverage