12:55 pm Nov. 7, 20121
Progressive organizations and organized labor unions are already applying pressure to disaffected Democrats who might consider caucusing with Republicans, if Democratic victories give the party a majority in the State Senate.
Democrats currently lead in two close races that have yet to be officially decided. A victory in either of those races would give the party a numerical majority in the Senate, but any defections could help Republicans maintain control of the chamber.
Among the potential Democratic defectors are four members who have already broken away from the party fold, to form the renegade Independent Democratic Caucus. They include Jeff Klein of the Bronx, Diane Savino of Staten Island, David Carlucci of Rockland County and David Valesky of Syracuse.
There's also newly elected state senator Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, who campaigned on the Conservative Party line and endorsed Mitt Romney. Felder has not publicly announced which caucus he will join.
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union and a vocal supporter of numerous progressive causes, said it would be "unconscionable and totally unacceptable" for anyone elected on the Democratic line not to caucus with the Democratic party.
Appelbaum's statement didn't refer to the IDC or Felder by name.
"We are likely on the brink of a Democratic organizational majority in the state senate, which is crucial for all working people and progressives in New York. Look at the issues we need the state senate to address - increasing the minimum wage, campaign finance reform, fair taxation, responsible development, workers compensation, unemployment insurance.. Any attempt to stymie that organizational majority by state senators elected on the Democratic party line would be unconscionable and totally unacceptable."
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