As he gets pulled left, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reportedly trying to pressure Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn to rejoin state Democrats.
If Democrats win the April 24 state Senate special election, the governor plans to introduce a series of policy changes, including stricter rent regulations such as vacancy decontrol, according to the New York Daily News. Other issues include gun control, criminal justice and campaign finance reform.
One source told the newspaper that the governor’s agenda would present “a policy choice and not a political choice for Simcha: Are you pro-tenant or not? Pro-gun-safety or not? Pro—voting and -ethics reform, or not?”
“With 32 elected Democrats it should be done before the end of the session,” the source said. “This puts pressure on Simcha Felder to have to pick a side, or be the reason the agenda is not taken up.”
Earlier this month, Cuomo, who is facing a primary challenge from progressive Cynthia Nixon, cut a deal with eight Democrats — the Independent Democratic Conference — who have sided with Republicans since 2011. Felder was the only holdout. The arrangement between the IDC and Republicans was advantageous to Cuomo, who could play mainline Democrats against Republicans.
“What else is new? I’ve been blamed for everything since I was born,” Felder said through a spokesperson. “Let’s see what happens on April 24.”
Cuomo recently lost the endorsement of the politically powerful Working Families Party, though he reportedly convinced some of its biggest labor backers — including the teachers union and 32BJ SEIU — to continue supporting him. [NYDN]— Kathryn Brenzel