The results of the September Democratic Primary were exciting all across the State.
The biggest news was the successful ouster of six of the eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference – the breakaway group of Senators who left the Democratic Party and lied to their voters about their Party affiliation in order to give Republicans control of the State Senate for the past eight years. For its entire existence the IDC had been at best tolerated and at worst actively defended by people in the Party leadership unwilling to back grassroots challenges to the machine, and when I ran for Party leader I made breaking this dynamic a central part of my campaign. We worked with grassroots groups to support primary challengers even after they officially “rejoined” the Party, organizing phone banks on the UES and sending volunteers to help canvass. Defeating them and replacing them with honest, True Blue Democrats is a major achievement and a critical step in righting the New York State Democratic Party.
The most high profile race was, of course, the primary for governor, where incumbent Andrew Cuomo defeated challenger Cynthia Nixon handily. The Four Freedoms Democratic Club voted to stay neutral in this race; we were unable to build a consensus around either candidate and chose instead to expend our energy working to retake Congress and defeat IDC senators. The race for lieutenant governor between incumbent Kathy Hochul and Council Member Jumaane Williams was closer, likely because he is a more seasoned campaigner than his running mate, Nixon.
FFDC’s endorsed candidate for Attorney General, Prof. Zephyr Teachout, did very well here on the UES and Roosevelt Island but lost statewide to Public Advocate Letitia James. Polling before the election showed significant undecided voters, all of whom seemed to break for PA James. The unofficial returns show PA James won downstate, Teachout won the Hudson River Valley all the way up to the North Country, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney won his congressional district and Western NY from Syracuse to Buffalo. Within NYC PA James won huge margins in the outer boroughs and Upper Manhattan, Teachout the rest of Manhattan and the portions of Brooklyn and Queens close to the river, and Maloney a small portion of Staten Island near the South Shore.
And last but not least, Adam Roberts and Lauren Trapanotto won their bids to represent our neighborhood to the State Democratic Committee. The State Committee acts as the board of directors of the State party, meeting a few times a year to set the direction and policy of New York’s Democratic organization. For as long as anyone can remember the Committee has been little more than a rubber stamp for the leadership in Albany, but a surge of grassroots energy and scandals regarding the Committee in the news recently [link to story] have led many progressive reformers to say it’s time for a change. You can read Lauren’s platform for reform here.