New York Democrats hope to retake control of the New York State Senate in next fall’s elections. However, some Democrats don’t want to wait that long; efforts are underway to shift Senate control to the Democrats next spring.
Senate Republicans have been fighting furiously to maintain control of the Senate—the last bastion of Republican power in the State—for the past 10 years. Currently, the State Senate consists of 32 enrolled Democrats and 31 enrolled Republicans; however, because Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) caucuses with the Republicans, they have maintained a slim, one-vote majority. In addition, Senate Republicans have allied themselves with the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference. This alliance gives Republicans an additional cushion against efforts to retake Democratic control of the Senate.
The Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) has been under pressure to reunite with the rest of the Senate Democrats for some time, but the pressure grew more intense in recent weeks when Gov. Andrew Cuomo—perhaps seeking to curry favor with the Left in anticipation of his own re-election campaign—joined the chorus of voices calling for all Senate Democrats to join forces. As of this writing, the mainline Senate Democrats and the IDC have entered into a new power-sharing arrangement that would take effect after two special elections are held early next year. There is just one problem with the plan: If Sen. Felder does not rejoin the Democrats, they won’t be able to form a governing majority even if they win both special elections and reunite.
For his part, Sen. Felder doesn’t sound like he’s on board with the Democrats’ plan. The New York Post reports that he had this to say: “‘I don’t think anything much is going to change. I think this is posturing right now due to pressures being brought upon them [the IDC] by national politics. It’s a brilliant distraction.’”
If the Senate Democrats did manage to achieve a governing majority, the consequences for the Empire State could be serious. Both the mainline Senate Democrats and the IDC have made their respective agendas quite clear, and those agendas include abortion expansion, taxpayer funding of campaigns, government-run healthcare, and the Bathroom Bill.