Incumbent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo defeated his challenger, actor and activist Cynthia Nixon, by 30 percentage points, in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary on Thursday after a heated primary race. But most members of the state’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC)—a group of state senators who campaigned as Democrats but caucused with Republicans, allowing the GOP to control the state senate despite not having a majority—lost their seats.
Six members of the now-defunct group were defeated by their primary challengers. Cuomo’s critics claimed he simultaneously worked to keep the IDC state senators in power and used the divided legislature as a mask for his own centrism.
Now, all but two of the former IDC senators are out, including the group’s leader state Sen. Jeff Klein, who was considered one of the most powerful men in Albany. He was ousted by first-time candidate Alessandra Biaggi. In Queens, state Sens. Tony Avella and Jose Peralta were defeated by John Liu and Jessica Ramos; Brooklyn Senator Jesse Hamilton was toppled by challenger Zellnor Myrie; Manhattan’s Marisol Alcántara lost to Robert Jackson; and in Syracuse, David Valesky lost to Rachel May.
Former IDC members weren’t the only ones who faced primary losses. In Brooklyn, eight-term state senator Martin Dilan, who has long been considered a friend to real estate, was defeated by Julia Salazar, a controversial democratic socialist whose platform included tenants’ rights, Medicare for All, and the decriminalization of sex work.
Susan Kang, a spokesperson for the group No IDC NY, told Rewire.News that Thursday night’s victories were the result of a mix of grassroots organizing and political savvy. “Almost all of them are first-time candidates. Many of them are very, very young, and they bring