The days of the Independent Democratic Conference co-ruling the state senate with Republicans are apparently over.
The coalition of breakaway Democrats, led by Sen. Jeffrey Klein, are poised to not only rejoin with their Democratic colleagues, but The New York Times reports it also would end the IDC — which has been targeted heavily over the past year since the election of Donald Trump.
The new deal is different from one the IDC struck last December, according to the newspaper. Instead of the IDC caucusing with Democrats keeping Klein in a co-leadership position, he'll instead become deputy leader under Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
The sudden reconciliation — which originally had been planned to take place in some form after special elections later this month — was brokered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a Manhattan restaurant on Tuesday, according to reports. The goal is to give Democrats majority control of the senate, although at the moment a lot of that depends on where Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn ends up.
Felder is a Democrat, but caucuses with Republicans. Without his support ahead of the special elections, Republicans could maintain control of the senate.
As part of the original deal in December, Democrats agreed not to recruit or support any primary challengers against members of the IDC, a group of eight Democratic senators that have worked with Republicans over the last seven years. However, grassroots groups have not heeded that call, and are fielding primary candidates anyway, including Alessandra Biaggi against Klein.
In a statement Wednesday, Biaggi credited the "blue wave" for ending the IDC — the apparent sudden support for Democrats in traditionally Republican strongholds across the country that seems in direct response to Trump's policies and activities in Washington.
"It is obvious that Klein and the IDC made this decision, not because they care about advancing progressive legislation, but simply because they are afraid of losing their jobs," Biaggi said. "The timing of this reunification is a clear sign that the IDC members have felt the heat of the anti-IDC movement and the candidates challenging them."
But even an early-announced primary challenger to Cuomo has knocked the agreement, with actress Cynthia Nixon blaming the governor for the existence of the IDC in the first place.
"If you've set your own house on fire and watched it burn for eight years, finally turning on a hose doesn't make you a hero," Nixon said.
A request to Klein's office seeking comment Wednesday morning is pending return.
Additional reporting by Zak Kostro