Partisan student groups at the University at Albany drew comfort and frustration from the dissolution of the Independent Democratic Conference announced last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
UAlbany College Republicans exchanged concerns over the reunification prior to Cuomo’s Wednesday announcement alongside mainline conference leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, and IDC leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx. In a press release, Alexander O’Leary, treasurer of the chapter, wrote that the group has “regret” over recognizing the changing caucuses.
IDC state senators have caucused with Republicans since 2011 to, as members often described, find middle ground between both parties. Stewart-Cousins has addressed them as “rogue Democrats.”
For long, IDC numbers have given Republican lawmakers an edge over issues such as the DREAM Act, legislation which would grant undocumented immigrants financial aid access. The DREAM Act has repeatedly passed the Democratic Assembly and died in the state Senate.
— Jesse McKinley (@jessemckinley) April 5, 2018
“We recognize this as a slippery slope; a possible path in which the far-left ideals can become law,” O’Leary stated.
Meanwhile, some of the far left perceive the deal as a ploy by Cuomo to smooth over relations with progressives heading into a primary with Cynthia Nixon, his primary challenger. Many, including the former Sex in the City star, believe the governor has privately favored state senate infighting, giving him leverage to sort out deals between both chambers during budget talks.
Cuomo in a press conference Wednesday dodged skepticism over the timing of unity talks. It took years to corral IDC and mainline Democrats.
At UAlbany, Emily Mattot, president of the chapter’s College Democrats, released a statement in support of reunification, but didn’t stated further comment would be inappropriate due to e-board’s difference in opinion.
“Speaking on behalf of the University at Albany College Democrats, we find unity in the party to be important and support the reconciliation of the Independent Democratic Conference with the mainline conference,” Matott said in a statement.
Minerva Daily also reached out to College Democrats of New York and the New York Federation of College Republicans on Wednesday.
NYFCR reached back with a more aggressive response to its UAlbany chapter. The organization, which supports Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, attacked Cuomo in a Twitter message.
“He feels the house of cards falling all around him and in fear of Cynthia Nixon and Marc Molinaro, both stronger candidates than he is, in an attempt to cut off Nixon’s momentum, he went farther left than he’s ever gone,” said Bobby Walker, vice chair of NYFCR.
In a Siena College poll released last month, the governor held a wide lead over Nixon, 66 to 19 percent over registered Democrats.
Beyond the primary race, Cuomo still has gaping lead over both Republicans seeking the party’s nomination in May; for Molinaro, it’s 57-29 percent; for state Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-DeWitt, it’s 57-28 percent.