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Alessandra Biaggi topples Jeffrey Klein in senate race

Klein is one of six former IDC senators ousted

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The votes are counted, and come November, there could very well be a new state senator representing the 34th District as Alessandra Biaggi has upset state Sen. Jeffrey Klein.

With 86 percent of precincts counted at around 10:30 p.m., Biaggi held a 10-point lead over Klein, according to The New York Times.  That lead held the rest of the night, and it wasn't long before Biaggi was celebrating with supporters at the Bronx Ale House in Kingsbridge.

Voters in the district "have woken up," she said. "They're part of it now. We sent a message that we will not tolerate these little fiefdoms. The government is for the people. And when you are elected, you are supposed to be serving the people. Nobody is beholden to you. You are there to serve the people."

The Biaggi victory capped a night where Klein and several members of the Independent Democratic Conference — the breakaway group of Democrats Klein led  that caucused with Republicans in the senate — were ousted from office.  They included Marisol Alcantara, Tony Avella, Jesse Hamilton, Jose Peralta and David Valesky. The only former IDC members to survive primary challenges Thursday were David Carlucci and Diane Savino.

Biaggi earned grassroots support throughout the senate district — which meanders its way through the Bronx and part of Westchester County — but not from various political establishments, including the Bronx County Democratic Party and more locally, the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club. But in the end, that didn't matter.

"The Bronx leadership should be shaking in their boots," said activist Betsey Knapp. "Their male boots."

What's next for Klein? Some pundits have whispered that he might run in the general election anyway — as an independent. But others suggest he might be in-line for a judgeship — displacing current Councilman Andrew Cohen, who revealed recently he was gunning for an open judge slot. 

If that's true, that likely would mean Cohen would serve out his full term through 2021, and two candidates who have already announced for the seat anticipating a special election — Eric Dinowitz and Dan Padernacht — may have to wait.

In the meantime, Biaggi is going to enjoy this victory, even when the local political establishment told her from Day One that she didn't have a chance.

Her response? "Goodbye. It's time for a new day."

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