The senator generally viewed as the head of the four-member Independent Democratic Conference is out with an op-ed in The Journal News today, hinting at support for a “coalition government” to take control of the state Senate in 2013.
Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, and the other three members of the renegade Democratic caucus have largely laid low since Election Day results potentially put them in the position of kingmaker in the closely divided Senate. With absentee ballots being counted, it’s still not clear whether Democrats or Republicans will have enough members to take the majority.
That has left much of the focus on Klein and his three caucus-mates: Sens. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County; Diane Savino of Staten Island and David Valesky of Oneida.
In his op-ed, Klein writes of the IDC’s successes before making a case for keeping his conference a permanent fixture.
“Make no mistake; the IDC is a permanent third conference in the New York state Senate,” Klein wrote. “We are committed to our vision of bipartisan governance that places progress above politicking. We believe that hyper-partisanship serves no one except those who dig in their heels to defend it.”
Later, he continued: “For that reason, coalition government may be the model whose time has finally come.”
Both Senate Democrats and Republicans have been courting Klein and his fellow IDC members behind the scenes.
As it stands, the GOP has won 30 seats in the 63-seat chamber, and Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder has also committed to caucusing with the Republicans. That leaves 30 other Democrats, including the IDC, which hasn’t revealed which party it supports for the majority. Two races are still too close to call, with Democrat Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, holding a strong lead in one district and Republican George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, with a slight lead in the other.