Sen. Jeff Klein, who heads the Independent Democratic Conference, said he’s confident his five-member conference will be re-elected in the fall.
Cuomo, as part of an agreement Saturday with the Working Families Party, vowed to try to oust members of the coalition in the November elections.
“I’m focused on getting the job done for the people of New York during these important final weeks of the legislative session,” Klein said in an interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’m not walking away from my strong record of core Democratic legislative accomplishments.”
Klein said the problem isn’t with the coalition. It’s with some Democrats who don’t support some progressive ideals: two Democrats voted against the Dream Act to give tuition assistance to illegal immigrants; Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., D-Bronx, is pro-life.
“If indeed, from what I’m hearing, he wants to get these things done, it’s not enough to have a Democratic majority,” Klein said. “You have to have a Democratic majority that is supportive of that agenda. Under that rationale, and I’m not saying he would do that, do you primary (Democrat) Ted O’Brien because he voted no on the Dream Act? Do you primary Rev. Diaz because he’s right to life and not pro-choice?”
Klein faces a primary from former New York City councilman Oliver Koppell. Sen. Tony Avella, D=Queens, an IDC member, faces a primary from former New York City comptroller John Liu.
The other three IDC members—Sens. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County; Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, and David Valesky, D-Syracuse—may also face primaries.
Klein said it’s too soon to say whether the coalition would be together next year.
“We’re still in the governing phase. We have an election ahead of us. I think the IDC will all get re-elected in primaries, and we’ll see what the lay of the land is post election,” he said.