ALBANY — The state Democratic Committee for the first time is formally calling on a group of breakaway Senate Democrats aligned with the Republicans to come back to the fold.
The Democratic Committee during a meeting outside of Albany on Tuesday passed a non-binding resolution demanding the eight-member Senate Independent Democratic Conference either re-align itself with the mainline Senate Dems as a majority or not run on the Democratic ticket “because they are not acting as Democrats.”
“What this resolution does is it encourages more and more people to primary these members,” said state Democratic Party executive director Basil Smikle.
While acknowledging the party doesn’t get involved in primaries, Smikle warned that “either they’re going to make a decision about with whom they should caucus, or the community — the street — will make it for them.”
There are 32 Democratic members in the state Senate, enough for a majority. But the Republicans remain in control of the chamber thanks to the eight IDC members who are aligned with them and Brooklyn Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder, who actually caucuses with the GOP.
The resolution, a stronger version of which had been unsuccessfully pushed in previous years by the Democratic committee’s progressive caucus, states that the IDC has enabled “draconian Republican leadership” that has “stymied Democratic values and legislation.”
The original resolution Tuesday that was softened before the vote would have barred the party from providing any resources to the IDC if they didn’t commit to a new leadership coalition with the mainline Dems.
IDC spokeswoman Candice Giove ripped Smikle as a “failed candidate and political operative who has no ability to elect candidates or himself to political office.”
Giove also tore into the state party for passing the measure.
“The reason why the Democratic Party is losing across the nation and at home is that they are coopted by a small band of misfits who continue to talk to each other in echo chambers and refuse to acknowledge that the party of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton no longer has the ability to communicate with working-class voters,” she said.
She added that “the Independent Democratic Conference will continue to fight for the working class and espouse the hopes and aspirations of all New Yorkers. Big tent Democratic politics is good government and good politics. We will see you at the polls.”
Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the mainline Democrats, called it “disturbing that the IDC thinks the entire state party, the DNC, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the entire NY Democratic Congressional Delegation, Mayor de Blaiso, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and many more national and local leaders are just a ‘small band of misfits’.”
“It shows how out of touch and corrupted by power they have become in this GOP coalition,” he said.