Taking on Tony
Taking on Tony
State Senator Tony Avella’s decision to join the Independent Democratic Conference is irking ex-Comptroller John Liu and Congresswoman Grace Meng.
Mr. Liu and Ms. Meng–who like Mr. Avella, are Democrats hailing from northeast Queens–criticized Mr. Avella when asked about about his recent move to join the breakaway conference Democrats governing the State Senate with the Republican Party.
Taking on Tony
State Senator Tony Avella met a handful of protesters outside a local school in Queens today, where the lawmaker took flack for his decision to join a breakaway faction of Democrats in Albany.
Mr. Avella, now the fifth member of the Independent Democratic Conference, arrived in Douglaston to give a citation to an elementary school. But four protesters, unfurling signs like “Tony the Traitor,” stood outside the school in the numbing cold to denounce Mr. Avella’s defection from the Democratic caucus.
The battle for the State Senate may be shifting to eastern Queens.
Queens State Senator Tony Avella enraged Senate Democrats today by joining the Independent Democratic Conference, a coalition of breakaway Democrats who govern the Senate with the GOP, and hurting the Democratic conference’s chances of taking over the chamber in November.
Awakening the Giant
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today dismissed questions about State Senator Tony Avella’s decision to join the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway faction of Democratic lawmakers who control the chamber with Senate Republicans, describing the move as part of the coming “political silly season.”
“You know, the politics and turmoil of Albany, right?” remarked the governor, speaking to reporters after announcing a new deal to film a Marvel comic series in the state. “I just heard about it today. I don’t know what it means, if anything.”
I want candy
State Senator David Carlucci, one of the Democratic lawmakers governing his chamber’s bipartisan majority coalition, apparently wanted a little self-help from Tony Robbins.
Mr. Carlucci’s latest filing includes $495 spent on a seminar sponsored by the famous self-help guru and author of books like Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement and Awaken the Giant Within. Though some may suggest the seminar falls outside the bounds of campaign spending, a source close to the senator insisted it had everything to do with politics.
Albany is apparently a sweet place to be.
In his latest “What You Should Know” missive, State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. wrote that the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats governing the State Senate with Republicans, is dominating Albany and gobbling up all of the “candies” that Democrats can’t feast upon any more.
State Sen. Malcolm Smith, arrested and charged last week as part of a wide-ranging bribery scandal, looks like he could have electoral troubles in addition to his legal woes. Jason Hilliard, a long-time staffer to Congressman Gregory Meeks, is actively mulling a challenge to Mr. Smith, a source close to Hilliard told Politicker.
While Mr. Hilliard declined to discuss his bid, the source said he had been considering the challenge even before last week’s indictment, as he wanted to “enact a more progressive agenda” than Mr. Smith had been advocating. The source addded that Mr. Hilliard “based [the] decision … to serve as a champion” on issues like the standard of living in southeastern Queens.
Malcolm in the Middle
Democratic State Sen. Daniel Squadron called on his Democratic colleague, State Sen. Malcolm Smith, to resign after he was arrested this morning and accused of orchestrating bribery scheme to land himself in the Republican mayoral primary.
“The charges outlined in today’s complaint are simply shocking,” Mr. Squadron, who’s also a candidate for public advocate this year, said in a statement earlier today. “This is something that belongs in ‘House of Cards,’ not an election to decide who will run our city or any part of our government. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges filed against Senator Smith, he has lost the public trust — and he should resign.”
That was fast.
Independent Democratic Conference leader Jeffrey Klein effectively booted Senator Malcolm Smith from his breakaway Democratic caucus this afternoon, stripping him of his leadership position and all committee assignments in the wake of charges that he took part in an alleged bribery scheme.
Hell hath no fury like a county organization scorned.
Multiple Democratic insiders confirmed to Politicker that Queens State Senator Malcolm Smith, the fifth member of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, could face a primary challenger in 2014. Mr. Smith, it should be noted, has flirted with running for mayor as a Republican and is not going out of his way to strengthen his Democratic bonafides.
“It’s clear that Malcolm Smith is on his last term in the Senate,” said one source. “Caucusing with Republicans is not a viable tactic.”