Democratic New York state Senator-elect Simcha Felder, who last week won his seat in Brooklyn’s newly drawn and heavily Orthodox Jewish district, has announced that he will caucus with the Republicans. Felder’s decision may upend the Democrats’ coming (for now) one-seat hold on the Senate majority.
The Democrat, Simcha Felder, a former city councilman who is a deputy to the New York City comptroller, John C. Liu, defeated a Republican incumbent, David Storobin, last week. Mr. Felder had said he was open to aligning himself with the party that best served the needs of his district, and on Tuesday he announced his decision after meeting with the Senate majority leader, Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican. “I have enormous respect for the senators from both parties, but I must choose to caucus with those senators who will best serve the communities I represent,” Mr. Felder said, citing economic development, education and taxation as among his concerns. Both Republicans and Democrats are predicting that they will control a 63-seat Senate in January. After Election Day, the Democrats had 31 seats in the Senate, compared with 30 for the Republicans, but two races remain too close to call and depend on absentee ballots. Democrats hold narrow leads in the two undecided races, which would give them a one-vote majority after Mr. Felder’s defection.
As noted above, Felder won his seat against NOM’s hero David Storobin, who spent his few weeks in the state Senate by pursuing a repeal of same-sex marriage before his district vanished into the new one.
In one hilarious irony to this mess, of all people, anti-gay asshat Sen. Ruben Diaz (D) is denouncing Felder and alleging that GOP Senate Leader Dean Skelos has promised Felder “committees and bonuses and fabulous prizes” for his defection. Diaz, you may recall, staged his own Senate coup in 2009 in what, for the time, was a successful bid to thwart the passage of same-sex marriage. Diaz now claims he was just trying to get Hispanics into the Senate leadership:
You should know that in 2009 when the Four Amigos – Senators Hiram Monserrate, Pedro Espada, Carl Kruger, and I – staged a coup and asked for a Hispanic to be named Secretary of the State Senate, and asked for positions of power for Hispanics so we could better serve our communities as was never possible before in the New York State Senate, we were called traitors, bandidos, extortionists, crooks, thugs and every bad name out there. All the Four Amigos wanted was for Senate Committees to enjoy the same opportunities as other ethnicities and have the chance for Committees to be led by Hispanics in the State Senate.
“You should know” that three of the “Four Amigos” have since been convicted of felonies for corruption, bribery, and tax fraud.
RELATED: The most important aspect of this latest nonsense in the careening clown car called the New York Senate is that Felder’s defection may further delay passage of the Gender Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which has been stalled in the Senate for a decade due to GOP opposition. Some New York municipalities provide local protections for transgender citizens, but shamefully, New York state itself does not.