A new digital ad takes aim at the "Long Island Six," the half-dozen Democratic senators from Long Island, most of whom won their seats just last year from Republicans.
"Despite running a platform of aggressive pro-tenant legislation and Democratic unity, the "Long Island Six have already succumbed to the influence of real estate lobbyists. They are the new IDC," a speaker says in the ad:
The Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) was a group of Democrats who broke ranks and helped maintain Republican control of the state Senate. All but two members of the IDC were defeated in primaries last year.
But now, New York Communities for Change and other progressive activist groups are threatening primaries against the "Long Island Six" as well.
"I think if they are going to vote with Republicans, there is a similar trajectory on how we dealt with the IDC," said Jonathan Westin, of New York Communities for Change. "There were challengers that were run against them in order to make sure we had progressive members in those seats."
The gripes on the left against the "Long Island Six" include them voting against the "Green Light" legislation granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants, and a majority of members voting against historic rent reform laws, while also taking big money from real estate interests.
Critics say the road to Democratic control of the Senate goes through Long Island and the Hudson Valley, not central Brooklyn. And if progressives want to keep a majority, they'd be wise to embrace their more conservative members and find common ground, not attack them.
"So why any Democrat, or one who calls themselves a progressive, would ever do anything to put that in peril is flabbergasting, stupid, disorganized, and beyond me," Democratic strategist Jon Reinish said.
But progressives say they want Democrats who vote like Democrats, not Republicans. And they are not worried about losing the majority next year.
"I think 2020 is going to be a year for Democrats," Westin said. "The idea that a Republican is going to win in those seats next year, I just don't think is feasible."
We reached out to each of the Democratic members of the "Long Island Six," and all of them declined our request for comment. We also reached out to the leadership of the Senate Democrats, which would only give us this muted defense of their own members, with a spokesperson saying, "Our Long Island members have done a great job."
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