Last week, Queens Democratic State Senator Tony Avella announced that he will become the fifth member of the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC).

 

Avella’s move to align himself with the IDC is a blow to the mainline Senate Democrats. There are more Democrats than Republicans in the state Senate, but the Democratic split have prevented them from controlling the Senate.  Avella’s move will likely make it harder for mainstream Democrats to gain control of the Senate in elections this coming November.

 

A Senate Democratic spokesman said:  “It’s unfortunate that progressive policies continue to be stymied because of divisions created by Senators who choose to empower Republicans.”

 

Although New York State is dominated by Democratic voters, the Senate Republicans who controlled the Senate for decades have maintained a share of control by joining with the IDC.

 

The Senate Majority Coalition is made up of 29 Republicans, 5 IDC members and 1 Democrat.  There are 24 regular Democrats, and 2 indicated Democrats who do not sit with any caucus.  There are also two vacancies in the Chamber – a safely Democratic seat, and Long Island seat long held by Republicans that the Democrats may make a play for. (This New York Times article attempts to explain the Senate’s complexity, but note that it was published before Avella joined the IDC.)