Written and edited by Norm Scott:
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Three pillars of The Resistance – providing information on current ed issues, organizing activities around fighting for public education in NYC and beyond and exposing the motives behind the education deformers. We link up with bands of resisters. Nothing will change unless WE ALL GET INVOLVED IN THE STRUGGLE!
As New York's state primary election results come in, it's looking like a strong night for insurgents, with Julia Salazar navigating a host of controversies to knock out state Sen. Martin Dilan in Brooklyn and a number of remarkably solid performances by challengers seeking to oust former members of the Independent Democratic Conference, which had drawn attacks for partnering with state Senate Republicans in Albany.
With results still coming in, a number of former IDC senators were trailing, including state Sens. Tony Avella, Marisol Alcantara and even Jeff Klein, the group's former leader. At least two others, state Sens. Jose Peralta and Jesse Hamilton, wereprojected to lose, according to NY1.
Each of the eight former IDC members faced challenges. Although the breakaway group of renegade Republicans rejoined mainline Democrats in April, it did little to temper the newly awakened political engagement in the wake of the 2016 presidential election and anger towards the Democrats who shared power with Republicans.
Another challenger, Blake Morris, fell short against state Sen. Simcha Felder, who is not a member of the IDC but has caucused with Republicans since he was first elected and gives them their one seat majority.
Additionally, there are several Assembly elections of note, including the possible first transgender state lawmaker and several vacants seats that need filling. This post will be updated throughout the night, so continue checking back for the latest in each race.
State Sen. Tony Avella was first elected in 2010, when he defeated Republican incumbent Frank Padavan. He joined the IDC in 2014, the same year that former New York City Comptroller John Liu first ran against him. At the time, Democrats wanted toget rid of Avellabecause of his decision to join the breakaway conference. However, the IDC promised to return to the fold after the election. Whether or not that ultimately impacted the 2014 election would be hard to prove, butLiu lostthat contest by six points. In the general election, Republicans won an outright majority in the state Senate and the IDC continued to ally with the GOP. This year may be different for Liu considering shifting political attitudes since Trump got elected. The knowledge of and desire to defeat the IDC is stronger than in 2014, which is what Democrats are banking on when they recruited Liulate in the game.
District 13, Democratic Primary
Jessica Ramos: 52.31 %
Jose Peralta: 40.27%
With 138 out of 159 election districts reporting.
Although a long-time incumbent, state Sen. Jose Peralta had the shortest stint with the IDC, having joined in January 2017. He faced perhaps the most backlash for the decision among the former IDC members, when members of the his community held anangry town hallin February to express their displeasure with his decision. Peralta has defended his decision by saying that by joining the IDC, he was getting much needed resources for his district.
Jessica Ramos, a former aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, was one of the people at the February town hall and is now looking tocapitalizeon the new political engagement to defeat Peralta. The district overlaps with the congressional district that Ocasio-Cortez won when she defeated the powerful Queens kingmaker Rep. Joseph Crowley in an upset victory. While the two races are not exactly alike, Ocasio-Cortez’s win may helpbolsterRamos’ efforts and could have served as a sort of litmus test for which way voters will swing on Thursday.
District 17, Democratic Primary
Simcha Felder: 59.53%
Blake Morris: 36.05%
With 185 out of 196 election districts reporting.
Since he was elected first elected in 2012, state Sen. Simcha has not faced either a primary or general election challenge. He has run on both the Republican and Democratic lines, and may appear on both again this year iflawyer Blake Morrisfalls short in the Democratic primary as expected. Even if Morris loses, a close primary would suggest that Felder is losing some of his grip on the district and the Orthodox Jewish community that make up his political base, a development that would be welcome to many on the left who blame Felder for lettingRepublicans in control of the state Senateeven after the IDC dissolved earlier this year.
District 18, Democratic Primary
Julia Salazar: 54.11%
Martin Dilan: 38.42%
With 221 out of 244 election districts reporting.
In this unexpectedly high-profile state Senate race, socialist Julia Salazar knocked out eight-term state Sen. Martin Dilan to represent the 18th District. Salazar galvanized support among progressives for her identification as a democratic socialist who wants to empower unions and immigrants while instituting universal rent control and single-payer health care.
Lawyer, activist and first time candidate Zellnor Myrie has defeated two-term incumbent and former IDC member state Sen. Jesse Hamilton. Myrie gained significant support during his campaign, gaining theendorsementof the entire Brooklyn congressional delegation, including Brooklynpolitical powerhouseRep. Hakeem Jeffries. Myrie also got the backing of all the other local lawmakers in and around the district, a favorable editorial inThe New York Timesand support from several powerful unions. Hamilton joined the IDC shortly before the general election in 2016. The race was a contentious one, ending with emails alleging that Myrie is anti-black apparently funded by a nonprofit with ties to Hamilton. The state senator denied any involvement. Myrie campaigned heavily on addressing the district’s housing crisis and attacked Hamilton for his ties to real estate.
District 22, Democratic Primary
Andrew Gounardes: 51.88%
Ross Barkan: 38.07%
With 184 out of 202 election districts reporting.
State Sen. Marty Golden has represented southern Brooklyn for 16 years as a Republican, despite a nearly 2-1 voter enrollment advantage for Democrats. He has rarely faced a challenge during those two decades. Andrew Gounardes, counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, put up a fight in 2012, but Goldenstill wonby over 15 points. Gounardes wants to try his luck again this year, but first much face journalist Ross Barkan in the primary. Barkan has covered politics in New York for years, but is a first-time candidate. Though the two Democrats havesimilar platforms, Barkan has positioned himselfto the left, supporting universal rent control, calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and rejecting corporate donations. He has also received the endorsement of Ocasio-Cortez. Gounardes has a long history of community engagement and government experience that he is running on. Democrats are hoping the winner of this primary will be able to ride a blue wave in November to replace Golden.
District 23, Democratic Primary
Brandon Stradford: 11.27%
Diane Savino: 59.89%
Jasmine Robinson: 18.38%
With 189 out of 221 election districts reporting.
State Sen. Diane Savino in Staten Island is facing challengers Jasmine Robinson, who has been endorsed by anti-IDC groups, and Brandon Stradford. Robinson at one point asked to betaken off the ballotwhen she learned some of her petition signatures were fraudulent, but quicklychanged her mind.The Robinson’s campaign does not appear as strong as some of the other former IDC challengers.
District 31, Democratic Primary
Tirso Pina: 3.77%
Marisol Alcantara: 36.67%
Robert Jackson: 52.95%
Thomas Leon: 1.36%
With 237 out of 264 election districts reporting.
Unlike her fellow former IDC members, state Sen. Marisol Alcantara is a freshman legislator and does not have the same incumbency advantage of some of the others. Shejoined the IDCsoon after she won the Democratic primary in 2016, which was afour-way racethat included former New York City Councilman Robert Jackson. That primarysplit very closelythree ways – Alcantara took 32.7 percent to win, Upper West Side lawyer Micah Lasher received 31.57 percent and Jackson came in third with 30.65 percent. This year’s primary is a four-way contest once again, but the other two candidates, Thomas Leon and Tirso Santiago Pina, have been all but non-existent so far – Leon has not filed a financial disclosure report and Pina has only raised about $3,000. Additionally, Lasher is not running this year andendorsed Jacksonearly in his campaign. A big question now is if the voters that turned out for Lasher in 2016 will support Jackson this year.
District 34, Democratic Primary
Alessandra Biaggi: 51.20%
Jeff Klein: 46.18%
With 223 out 274 election districts reporting.
State Sen. Jeff Klein is facinga rare primary challenge this yearfrom lawyer and community activist Alessandra Biaggi. Klein founded the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference in 2011 and served as its leader until the conference disbanded under pressure from Cuomo in April. At the end of 2012, the IDC formed a majority coalition with Republicans that helped keep the GOP in power without an outright majority, and Klein co-led the state Senate. In another potential vulnerability for the incumbent, Klein earlier this year was accused ofsexual misconductby a former staffer.
Biaggi is one of eight candidates running against former IDC members. Although Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Klein in 2014 byrunningformer Assemblyman and former New York City Councilman Oliver Koppell, anti-IDC sentiment has grown this election cycle ever since President Donald Trump got elected in 2016 and progressive activists have seen a more engaged and informed citizenry. Although there is no public polling in the race, it would appear that Klein is taking the race seriously – he has spent a mind-boggling $2.4 million dollars as of a little over a week ago according to state financial disclosures. By comparison, Biaggi has only spent less than $300,000. Klein has the support of manymajor unions, including 1199SEIU, RWDSU and TWU. Meanwhile, Biaggi has beenendorsedby 32BJ SEIU, as well as U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson,The New York Timesand congressional candidate and progressive darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
District 38, Democratic Primary
David Carlucci: 0%
Julie Goldberg: 0%
With 0 out of 265 election districts reporting.
Former IDC member state Sen. David Carlucci is facing a challenger from Julie Goldberg, a librarian. Goldberg is part of the broader slate of anti-IDC candidates, though her campaign does not appear as strong as some of the others seeking to unseat former conference members.