State Senate co-leader Jeff Klein and Queens state Senator Tony Avella, two breakaway Democrats, got the backing of the mayor in their primary elections after they agreed to end their arrangement with Republicans for control of the state Senate. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio waited until after a press availability Tuesday to announce his endorsement of Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeff Klein and the IDC's newest member, state Senator Tony Avella, but the mayor made no bones about it: he will be supporting Democrats who still technically control the state Senate in a power-sharing arrangement with Republicans.
"Certainly, the mayor isn't shy about advocating his progressive agenda, so I think this endorsement really is sort of the progressive seal of approval," Klein said.
After the legislative session in Albany ended last month, Klein and his fellow IDC members announced their intention to form a new Senate majority, this time with the Democrats they split off from. All of this is pending the outcome of the November elections.
In a statement, de Blasio said, "As part of a united Democratic majority in the State Senate, I look forward to working with Sen. Klein and Sen. Avella as we work to implement a progressive agenda."
Klein is being challenged by former City Councilman and one-time state Attorney General Oliver Koppell.
"I'm not intending to drop out of the race. Absolutely not," Koppell said. "Even though yes, the race has produced some improvement in the situation, not enough as far as I am concerned."
The deal to reunite the IDC and the Democrats took hold at the Working Families Party Convention in May. Governor Andrew Cuomo was able to secure the party's ballot line by promising to help reunify the two Democratic factions.
The WFP also endorsed Koppell and Avella's opponent, John Liu, but on Tuesday, the party backed away from that, saying it now intends to stay neutral.
"This is something my opponent sought very strongly, he touted as something very, very important in his campaign, and now that he doesn't have it, it certainly is going to be a blow to his campaign," Klein said.
It wasn't just endorsements that were promised to IDC members for their races if they agreed to end their relationship with Senate Republicans. Resources were also promised, including financial ones, although what exactly they will be remains to be seen.