A new poll from Data for Progress shows state Sen. David Carlucci, who was a founder of the turncoat group that voted to keep the GOP in control of the New York Senate, with a narrow lead in the June 23 Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Nita Lowey in the 17th Congressional District:
State Sen. David Carlucci: 15
Former Obama administration official Evelyn Farkas: 13
Former federal prosecutor Adam Schleifer: 13
Attorney Mondaire Jones: 12
Assemblyman David Buchwald: 6
Former NARAL board chair Allison Fine: 2
Army veteran Asha Castleberry-Hernandez: 1
The poll also included Westchester County Board of Legislators Majority Leader Catherine Parker, who exited the race late last month; Parker took 0% of the vote in this survey.
While Carlucci has always won office as a Democrat, he was one of the founders of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which infamously kept the GOP minority power in 2013. Democrats, despite a map the GOP had gerrymandered for their own advantage, had just won 33 of the 63 seats in the Senate. While conservative Democrat Simcha Felder outright caucused with the GOP, this state of affairs still should have been enough to give Team Blue a 32-31 majority in the chamber, which would have given them control for only the third time since World War II.
However, Carlucci and the rest of the IDC, which at this point included a total of five members, worked out a deal to keep the GOP minority in power. Among other things, that arrangement gave the IDC and GOP "joint and equal authority" over bills; IDC members also got committee chairmanships and vice chairmanships and the perks and increased salaries that came with them. The GOP, in turn, used its power to block progressive legislation in one of the nation’s bluest states, including bills to expand gun safety, access to abortion, and voting rights.
In April of 2018 the IDC announced that they'd finally rejoin the mainstream Democratic caucus, but their many detractors understandably were not appeased after years of dealing with the renegade senators and their pledges to reunify. That September, six of the eight senators who were in the IDC when it officially disbanded went down in defeat in the Democratic primaries. Carlucci, though, kept his seat by turning back his primary challenger 54-46.
Democrats recaptured the majority in the fall in a rout, and this time, there were no renegades to keep them from running the chamber. Party leaders also welcomed Carlucci and fellow IDC alum Diane Savino back into the fold even though they didn't need their votes to pass long-delayed progressive legislation. (Felder also became a full-fledged Democrat later in 2019.)
Carlucci, though, remains someone we very much do not want in the House, but according to this poll, none of the other candidates has emerged as his main rival. Jones, however, did earn a high-profile endorsement on Friday, two days after this survey was complete, from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Buchwald, meanwhile, is going up with a new TV spot. The narrator declares that the assemblyman “wrote the law to expose Trump’s tax returns; co-sponsored New York’s Green New Deal; passed the nation’s toughest gun laws, paid sick leave, and funding for Planned Parenthood.”
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