Tuesday night's primary victory for Marisol Alcantara in Manhattan could have significant implications for control of the state Senate, as Alcantara plans to sit with a breakaway group of Democrats that controls the chamber by siding with Senate Republicans. Zack Fink filed the following report.
With her Democratic primary win Tuesday night, Marisol Alcantara is expected to cruise to victory in November. But the conference she has pledged to sit with, the Independent Democratic Conference or IDC, currently has an alliance with Republicans for the majority.
Observers view her victory as a win for IDC leader Jeff Klein. Not surprisingly, so does he.
"It was the first time that someone ran in an open primary as an IDC candidate," Klein said. "And believe me, she took a lot of hits for that, which were all unfounded. Because at the end of the day, she embraced what the Independent Democratic Conference stands for."
It's unclear what will happen in the November elections. Twenty-six mainline Democrats are hopeful they can win enough seats with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket to win the majority outright, without any help from what could then be a six-member IDC. But 32 seats are needed for a majority in the upper house, and even mainline Democrats concede that's a tall order.
"We need to get more Democrats elected," said state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens. "The path to the majority was always going to be with all the Democrats working together. It was as true yesterday as it is today. So we hope to be working with Marisol, with Jeff Klein."
Insiders say Klein could be in a position to forge a deal with either party to remain in the majority, and Alcantara's victory gives him even more leverage to strike the best deal favorable to him.
Moreover, the current membership of the IDC is mostly male and all white. Alcantara would add diversity to better reflect the makeup of the Democratic party.
"It's something that's important to me, and I know it's certainly important to Marisol," Klein said. "She made history. She is going to be the only Latina in the state Senate, the first Dominican woman elected to the state Senate."
At this point, Klein would not commit to continuing the relationship with Republicans or going back to the Democrats. That will depend upon the results of the November elections. He did commit, however, to keeping the IDC a third, independent conference in the state Senate.