As their chances at grasping an outright majority took another blow this morning, a spokesman for state Senate Democrats took issue with a Queens senator’s defection on Tuesday, calling on all Democrats to caucus with the main party conference.
Former Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, announced through a spokesman today that he will join the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway caucus of four (now five) senators who broke from the Senate Democrats early last year. The move clouds an already cloudy situation surrounding control of the state Senate, where neither Democrats nor Republicans won a clear majority on Election Day.
Mike Murphy, the spokesman for Senate Democrats, said anyone elected on the Democratic line owes it to their constituents to sit with the main party conference.
“Those elected as Democrats should respect voters’ clearly expressed intent and sit with the Democratic Conference to implement important progressive goals like standing up for women’s health, passing real campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage and enacting common sense gun laws,” Murphy said in a statement. “Anything less would be a disservice to the people of our state.”
The Independent Democratic Conference—headed by Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx—has been in negotiations with Republicans on a potential “coalition government,” in which the two conferences would jointly control the Senate.