Political Arena

Coalition time?


Correction appended 

If neither Democrats or Republicans can hold a majority without the votes from the four members of state Sen. Jeff Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference, New York will likely have a coalition government.

In an op-ed in The Journal News published on Nov. 20, Mr. Klein said the IDC is a “permanent third conference in the New York state Senate.”

“We can stay paralyzed in the political power games of the past, or we can embrace a new model of governing in the 21st Century. Such a model should reflect our citizenry and our communities; it should foster diversity, not simply trumpet partisanship. As we have seen over the last two years, we get more done when we work together,” Mr. Klein wrote.

“For that reason, coalition government may be the model whose time has finally come,” he concluded.

Though he told The Riverdale Press the IDC could exist and still support a majority leader from the Democrats or Republicans, his op-ed suggests that may be unlikely.

Though the Democrats need the IDC’s four votes to have a majority, Republicans can win it outright if one of the two still undecided races goes their way. 

State Sen.-elect Simcha Felder, who was elected as a Democrat in Brooklyn, announced he will caucus with Republicans, which gives them 31 clear seats in the 63-seat Senate.

As of press time, one of the races appeared to be going to the Democrats. In the 41st District, Democrat Terry Gipson was ahead of longtime Republican state Sen. Stephen Saland. But the closer race is in the district Senate Republicans created during the redistricting process to give their majority a cushion. Republican Assemblyman George Amedore had a 700 vote lead over Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, according to news reports. The counting continued on Tuesday in highly Democratic Ulster County. If Mr. Amedore wins, Republicans will have a majority in the Senate and things will go back to the way they’ve been the last two years.

But if Ms. Tkaczyk wins and Mr. Klein is serious about turning the Senate into a coalition government, the IDC will hold all the power. 

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