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In re-marriage of IDC & Mainstream Democrats, pre-nup not yet complete

IDC leader State Senator Jeff Klein threw some cold water on a budding political romance Thursday morning.

Senator Klein told WCNY The Capitol Pressroom’s Susan Arbetter that while he will consider re-aligning his 5-member Independent Democrat Conference with the Mainstream Democrats after the November elections, he had not decided whether to continue efforts to unseat Senator Tim Kennedy, a western New York member of the mainstream Democratic Conference who is facing an IDC-backed primary challenger.

It wasn’t the only bad news for this possible reunification. When asked about the bad blood that remains between the two Democratic groups, Senator Klein responded less with an endorsement of his new colleagues, than a mission statement.

“I think Senator Valesky has said this before—we are not sent up to our State Capitol to serve in the legislative body to make friends; we are there to get things done,” said Klein. “I am hopeful that the Independent Democratic Conference in a new coalition post-November with the Senate Democrats can achieve the results. We agree on many, many issues. Now it is just the ability to work together to get things done.”

Unions like 1199 SEIU and activist groups like New Yorkers Against Fracking; the Empire State Pride Agenda and Citizen Action are banking on the fact that the two sets of Democrats share common ground on multiple issues.

Citizen Action Executive Director Karen Scharff, co-Director of the Working Families’ Party, name several issues that could see a passage in Democratically-controlled State Senate come January.

“We come back with an IDC/Democratic Senate and we’ll finally see passage … of public funding, matching systems to elevate small donors and voters,” Scharff said. “The Governor has been a supporter and our blockage has been the Senate Republicans. So now with the IDC and the Senate Democrats coming together, where both conferences have been strong supporters, I think we can really see progress on fair elections and restoring our democracy to every day New Yorkers.”

She is also hopeful that all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act will pass as well as the DREAM Act, a higher minimum wage, marijuana decriminalization, a moratorium on fracking and GENDA, the gender non-discrimination bill.

Many of these issues have passed multiple times in the Democratic-led Assembly only to be bottled up in committee in the Republican-led State Senate.

The agreement between Senator Jeff Klein’s IDC and the Mainstream Democratic Conference has some upstate Republicans concerned. Senator Pat Gallivan, R-Elba, has called the possible alliance bad for upstate New York since it would concentrate power downstate in both legislative houses.

Listen to The Capitol Pressroom here.

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