New York City voters on Thursday punished a group of incumbent Democratic legislators they perceived as too friendly to Republicans.
"We have now cut the head off the IDC snake," said Alessandra Biaggi, who defeated state Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx.
Most members of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference, or IDC, were rebuked by challengers to their left, as five of the six ex-IDC members in the city were defeated.
For years, the group of breakaway Democrats helped Republicans control the state Senate in a power-sharing agreement. Under pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and liberal activists, they agreed in April to rejoin mainline Democrats.
But that didn't stem voters' anger.
Biaggi was part of a group of insurgent first-time candidates that overcame significant disadvantages, including fundraising: Klein — who has been the deputy leader of the state Senate Democratic conference since the IDC members merged with the mainline Democrats — spent more than $2 million on the race.
"If this does not prove that the political currency of this time is people over money, I don't know what does," said Biaggi, who worked for Hillary Clinton's failed presidential bid and once worked for Cuomo.
Meanwhile a similar scene was playing out in Queens, where Jessica Ramos, an activist and former staffer to Mayor Bill de Blasio, knocked off longtime incumbent state Sen. Jose Peralta.
"We couldn't accept a turncoat Democrat as our state senator," Ramos said.
In Brooklyn, it was Zellnor Myrie, who unseated Sen. Jesse Hamilton.
"We're going to take some time to celebrate this victory, but the real work starts in January," Myrie said to supporters Thursday night.
In northeast Queens, former City Comptroller John Liu took out ex-IDC member Sen. Tony Avella.
In upper Manhattan, Sen. Marisol Alcantara was voted out, in favor of former City Councilman Robert Jackson.
The only ex-IDC member to survive: Sen. Diane Savino, who represents parts of Staten Island and southern Brooklyn. She easily took down her competitors, Jasmine Robinson (20.5 percent; 3,608 votes) and Brandon Stradford (12.3 percent; 2,167 votes). As of 1:37 a.m. Friday, with 210 of the 221 precincts reporting, Savino had secured 67.2 percent of the vote (11,817 ballots).
The insurgent victories were a consolation prize for candidates at the top of the left-wing's ticket in the state's primary.
"Your victories tonight have shown that the blue wave is real and it's not only coming for Republicans, but for the Democrats who act like them," said Cynthia Nixon, who lost her bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Letitia James and Kathy Hochul, the candidates Cuomo endorsed for state attorney general and lieutenant governor, respectively, also won their statewide races.
"New York voters rejected weak, corporate Democrats for bold progressives with strong, economic-populist messages who will fight for working families," said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that supports and endorses candidates.
The Democratic leader in the state Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who supported the former IDC candidates, said voters had "made it clear that this is a new day and politics as usual are no longer acceptable."
But voters also decided to support another breakaway Democrat, Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder. Felder was not an IDC member but also voted with the Republicans, letting them remain in control even though Democrats outnumbered them in the Senate by one seat.
Felder beat challenger Blake Morris, 65.9 percent (15,197 votes) to 34.1 percent (7,854 votes), in their Democratic primary for the 17th state Senate district in Brooklyn.
MARGINS OF DEFEAT FOR THE FIVE FORMER IDC MEMBERS (AS OF 1:37 A.M. FRIDAY)
Alessandra Biaggi vs. Jeff Klein, state Senate district 34 in the Bronx and Westchester:
Precincts reporting: 270/274
Biaggi: 54.4 percent (17,618 votes)
Klein: 45.6 percent (14,754 votes)
Jessica Ramos vs. Jose Peralta, state Senate district 13 in Queens:
Precincts reporting: 159/159
Ramos: 54.9 percent (12,181 votes)
Peralta: 45.1 percent (10,021 votes)
Zellnor Myrie vs. Jesse Hamilton, state Senate district 20 in Brooklyn:
Precincts reporting: 213/213
Myrie: 54.1 percent (22,601 votes)
Hamilton: 45.9 percent (19,138 votes)
Robert Jackson vs. Marisol Alcantara, state Senate district 31 in Manhattan:
Precincts reporting: 264/264
Jackson: 56 percent (27,558 votes)
Alcantara: 38.5 percent (18,964 votes)
John Liu vs. Tony Avella, state Senate district 11 in Queens:
Precincts reporting: 224/224
Liu: 52.8 percent (12,133 votes)
Avella: 47.2 percent (10,846 votes)