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Queens Chronicle

Ramos rocks Peralta, Avella loses to Liu as IDC members fall statewide

Catalina Cruz defeats Assemblywoman Ari Espinal in night of incumbent losses

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Posted: Friday, September 14, 2018 12:30 am

New York State is a different place today. It's littered with the wreckage of what once was the Independent Democratic Conference.

And nowhere was the rubble deeper than in Queens, where a pair of state Senators were ousted in Thursday's Democratic primaries by challengers who dubbed them traitors to their party.

In District 13, it was four-term state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) who lost his re-election bid to former mayoral aide Jessica Ramos — a fierce critic of her "turncoat" opponent's IDC membership.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Ramos had won 12,181 vote to Peralta's 10,021 — good for a 10-percentage point margin.

In District 11, fellow four-term incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was defeated by former city Comptroller John Liu in a rematch of 2014's Democratic primary — a race Avella won by a mere 568 votes.

This time around, it was Liu who came out victorious, defeating the incumbent 12,133 ballots to 10,846 — a 6-point margin.

"The IDC better be dead," Ramos told reporters at her victory party in Jackson Heights. "New Yorkers are pissed. They're tired of being lied to. They're tired of government not working for them. They're sick of it."

Founded in 2011, the IDC was a group of eight breakaway Democratic state Senators who maintained a power-sharing agreement with Republicans, allowing the GOP to control the chamber, until it dissolved in April.

But a number of candidates rose up to challenge the former IDC members in the wake of President Trump's 2016 election, capitalizing on a groundswell of anger over the alliance — viewed in many neighborhoods as a capitulation to the party of the deeply unpopular president.

On Tuesday night, Avella and Peralta were just two of the six ex-IDC members to lose. The group's former leader himself, state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx, Westchester), lost to 32-year-old lawyer and former high-ranking Hillary Clinton aide Alessandra Biaggi by 5 percentage points.

"We have now cut the head off the IDC snake," Biaggi said at her election night rally.

Other former IDC members who lost Tuesday include state Sens. Marisol Alcantara (D-Manhattan), Jesse Hamilton (D-Brooklyn) and David Valesky (D-Syracuse). The only two who won were state Sens. Diane Savino (D-Brooklyn, Staten Island) and David Carlucci (D-Rockland).

Every time an IDC member was shown to be losing, the crowd of about 100 people at Ramos' watch party erupted in cheers.

And when the race was called for the Jackson Heights mother of two, the audience broke out into chants of "Sen-a-tor! Sen-a-tor!" and "Jess-i-ca! Jess-i-ca!"

With her family behind her, some of them in tears, Ramos said in her victory speech that Tuesday marked a new day in Senate District 13 and the state of New York.

"It was not only about taking back our district, it was about taking back our streets," she said. "I was having a ball at City Hall. I was enjoying my job, but sometimes, it's time to come home and make sure that your community taken care of.

"We needed to make sure that we were making a statement about how we couldn't accept a turncoat Democrat as our state Senator. But it's also about fixing the Democratic party, making sure we're taking money out of politics and building a people-powered movement."

Peralta and Avella were not the only incumbents to lose in Queens on Tuesday. Assemblywoman Ari Espinal (D-Jackson Heights) lost by 10 percentage points to Catalina Cruz — a formerly undocumented immigrant, lawyer and chief of staff to ex-Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

A longtime aide to now-Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) when he served in the Assembly, Espinal first won the seat in an April special election in which she ran unopposed and was seeking a full term in November.

The crowd at Ramos' party also cheered wildly when the results of the Cruz-Espinal race flashed across the television screens.

In total, 10 incumbents lost between both the Assembly and state Senate on Tuesday. At Ramos' celebration, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) said things are going to be "completely different" in Albany from now on.

"All bets are off," Rozic said. "It's going to be so refreshing to work with some new people."

State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) echoed the same sentiment, saying the upsets had been brewing for a long time.

"It's going to be amazing. This is historic," Gianaris said. "I'm excited, it's like having a fresh slate, starting over and doing things they way they should be done."

There would be no such upset in Assembly District 30, as first-term Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth) easily fended off a challenge from transgender activist Melissa Sklarz by 25 percentage points.

Assemblyman Clyde Vanel (D-Queens Village) also had a stress-free primary night, as he breezed past Cambria Heights college professor Oster Bryan by 50 percentage points.

There were also a pair of Republican primaries in Queens. In Senate District 11, Whitestone resident Vickie Paladino defeated the county party-backed candidate, Simon Minching of Douglaston, by 14 percentage points — earning the right to face Liu in November's general election.

In Senate District 15, Army Reserves Col. Tom Sullivan of Breezy Point sailed past attorney Slawomir Platta by 36 percentage points — setting up a showdown with state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).

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1 comment:

  • stan chaz posted at 5:56 pm on Mon, Sep 17, 2018.

    stan chaz Posts: 30

    The blue wave of progressive Democrats is here. And it will sweep the November midterms, to bring both sanity and dignity back to our degraded politics.
    Given the Trump administration's love for Putin & Russia it's only fitting that Republicans are labeled with the color red nowadays.
    I'm old enough to remember the slogan "better dead than red".
    Funny how it has become appropriate once again with regard to the Republicans & Trump. For they have sold their soul - and their ideals - in following Trump down to his eventual demise.
    So sad, so sad.....