Although Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is vying to be the city’s first openly gay mayor, has scored many LGBT-oriented Democratic club endorsements in her bid, that hasn’t always been the case.
A couple weeks ago, an LGBT club led by a loud Quinn critic, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, threw its support behind former Comptroller Bill Thompson. And last night, a club headed by a Quinn supporter, the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens, voted to endorse Comptroller John Liu for City Hall.
After State Senator John Sampson was arrested for his alleged involvement in a bribery scheme this morning, the lawmaker who replaced Mr. Sampson as the head of the Senate’s Democratic conference, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, acted swiftly by stripping him of rank and privilege.
For local races, New York City overwhelmingly tilts towards the Democratic Party and there are only a handful of Council campaigns with the potential to be competitive in this November. The race for outgoing GOP Councilman Jimmy Oddo’s seat is likely to be one of them. And, according to a source active in local politics, the Democratic establishment is backing Mendy Mirocznik, a non-practing rabbi and lawyer, for the Staten Island district.
“We’re seeing fewer education dollars, less transportation options, deteriorating roads and there seems to be no relief in sight,” Mr. Mirocznik said in a statement announcing his candidacy yesterday. “Meanwhile, our small-businesses, the economic engine, of our community are struggling to survive – that is not a recipe for recovery. We need an advocate who will reverse this trend and bring real results for Mid-Islanders, and I believe I can do that.”
Last night, the Kings County Conservative Party backed their borough’s district attorney, Joe Hynes, for re-election and, citing his safety record, they formally offered him their ballot line come November. Although Mr. Hynes has been endorsed by the Conservatives for years, at least one of his Democratic primary rivals, Ken Thompson, was outraged by the bipartisan embrace and released a statement detailing his disgust.
“It is appalling that DA Hynes would accept the endorsement of a fringe right-wing group which opposes a woman’s right to choose, gun control and a minimum wage increase, supports the racial profiling of suspects, and sought to remove President Obama from office,” Mr. Thompson said this morning.
Earlier this week, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins was elected to be the next leader of the Senate’s Democratic conference, but, even though Democrats will have a numerical majority in the chamber, a breakaway group of Democrats will place Ms. Stewart-Cousins’ caucus in the minority. Some partisans and activists have criticized New York’s top Democrat, Governor Andrew Cuomo for not intervening in the matter or even expressing support on his party’s behalf, but in a pair of TV appearances last night, Ms. Stewart-Cousins argued attention should instead be focused on his agenda, which “coincidentally” is hers as well.
“I met with the governor today, he wanted to talk to me and I brought colleagues with me,” she said on Inside City Hall. “We did have a good conversation, we had an open discussion. We talked about the state of the state. We talked about his legislative priorities. Coincidentally, many of his priorities are ours as well. There wasn’t a conversation about anger; there was a reality about the fact that Democrats are in a position to, again, to create an agenda and make it happen. I think he wants to make sure it gets done.”
Earlier this evening, the Senate Democratic Conference officially gave the boot to John Sampson and handed their top leadership position to Westchester’s Andrea Stewart-Cousins. In order to stress their unity, the Senate Democrats sent out a press release with almost every member of their conference touting Ms. Stewart-Cousins’s credentials and prospects going forward. They even included a statement from “Senator-Elect Cecilia Tkaczyk,” whose opponent just declared victory in a race the Democrats are still contesting.
For his part, Mr. Sampson took the news humbly, simply saying, “I look forward to working with Leader Stewart Cousins as we move the Democratic Conference forward serving all New Yorkers. The people of New York want a progressive and democratic agenda and that is what the Democratic Conference under the leadership of Senator Stewart Cousins will provide.”
Yesterday afternoon, the course of the New York State Senate was altered when a faction of the on-paper Democratic majority announced they would instead form a power-sharing agreement with the Republicans, equally splitting control of the chamber in an “unprecedented” fashion. Although labor has been wary of the situation thus far, seemingly preferring Democratic rule, Transport Workers Union Local 100 called the new coalition-style government “the best possible option” for the state.