Albany, which was kind of at a low-level hum as hostilities ramped up between the Democratic Party and the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference, was officially upgraded to "rocked" this afternoon as fellow breakaway Senator Simcha Felder executed a perfect triple chutzpah lutz and called on the IDC to return to the Democratic fold.
Felder's letter, released this afternoon, demanded Jeff Klein and his merry band rejoin the Senate's mainline Democratic conference. Left unsaid in the letter was whether Felder would rejoin the Democratic Party, as the nominal Democrat from Borough Park has caucused with the Republicans since he was elected to the State Senate in 2012.
— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) May 24, 2017
In the letter, Felder writes that he found the IDC's "Call the Roll" letter "entertaining" but asks "who are you to decide what the legislative priorities are for loyal Democrats across New York State?"
Felder also declares: "Instead of sending letters to other Democrats and producing fancy videos to make us believe that you are advocating for issues important to the Democrats, I suggest you put aside any personal conflicts you have with Senate Democrats and unconditionally and publicly rejoin the Democrats."
Felder, because of the fact that he voted for Republican John Flanagan for Majority Leader and caucuses with the Republicans, had long been held up as another reason for the IDC to not return to the mainline Democratic conference. That seemed to gnaw at him somewhat, given the comments he made to Albany reporters following the publication of his letter.
I just called Simcha Felder about the letter he sent to Jeff Klein. “I’m calling his bluff. … Go back and put the onus on me. I dare you.”
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) May 24, 2017
— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) May 24, 2017
Earlier this year, Democratic Conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told Gothamist that Felder had conversations with her about returning to the mainline conference, but that he couldn't get anyone in the IDC to agree to come back with him.
IDC spokesperson Candice Giove greeted the news by suggesting Felder was just trying to duck the Call the Roll letter. "It's telling that Simcha Felder didn't sign the pledge. We now see where he stands on these seven crucial issues," she wrote to Gothamist in an email.
Mainline Democratic spokesperson Mike Murphy told Gothamist in an email statement that "the people of New York have once again sent more Democrats than Republicans to the Chamber. We look forward to all Democrats working together to create a Democratic Majority."