Senate Democrats are left out in the cold, following the news that the independent Democratic Conference or IDC will partner with the Republicans for control of the State Senate. The coalition government excludes the Democratic conference, even though they appear to have won enough seats last month to have a majority. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Democrats could be lonely next year when lawmakers head back to Albany. The Senate Democrats once again find themselves in the minority, even though, against all odds, the control govern in the upper house basically shuts them out.
"I know that 33 people got elected as Democrats on Election Day, and I think the people expected them to govern as Democrats," said State Senator Michael Gianaris.
The new coalition government includes the Republicans, who will maintain some of their key posts and chairmanships, and the breakaway IDC, which now has five members, including their leader Jeff Klein, and the newest addition to the conference, Malcolm Smith.
"Two of the five who went over were the failed leaders of that time, Jeff Klein and Malcolm Smith," said State Senator Liz Krueger. "So are they mad that the Democrats moved them out of positions after that disastrous era? Maybe. Does that justify jumping over to the Republicans? I don't believe so."
There is no precedent for this kind of coalition government in New York State. Under the proposal, the position of Senate Majority Leader would likely be shelved in favor of a rotating temporary Senate presidency to be shared by Klein and Republican leader Dean Skelos. The two conference leaders are expected to switch the position every two weeks.
Klein and other members of the IDC maintain that they are still Democrats and remain committed to a progressive agenda. Governor Cuomo said he has stayed out of negotiations for the power-sharing arrangement, although many believe he he played an unreported role in facilitating it.
"If this works well, God Bless, and if it works well for the people of the state, and it functions and they're voting and we're moving forward, great," Cuomo said. "If we have a dysfunctional period, that is not going to be a good thing, and I will do everything I can to change that."
Despite being in the minority for the foreseeable future, Democrats did hold what they said was a successful fundraiser Wednesday night at a Central Park West address, raising more than $200,000.