Looking Back on 2018 and Ahead to 2019
By Robert Press
In looking back on 2018 term limits were not needed to retire two long time incumbents. Ten term incumbent Congressman Joseph Crowley who didn't have a primary since 2004 lost to an unknown challenger by the name of Alexandria Ocassio-Cortez in the June Democratic Primary. While Crowley remained on the November General Election ballot on a minor party line, Ocassio-Cortez sweep to victory easily to become the new Congresswoman from the 14th Congressional District.
Also being sent into retirement was former State Senator Jeff Klein who coincidentally was elected to the state senate in 2004. Klein rose to become one of the four men in the room in Albany, as head of an eight member group called the Independent Democratic Conference through a power sharing alliance with Senate Republicans, which came back to drive him and six of the eight former IDC members out of office in 2018.
With the election of Donald Trump as President in November of 2016 it became bad luck to be associated with Republicans in 2017, especially in New York. In November of 2017 groups banded together with one goal in mind, to rid the state senate of the IDC. Early in 2018 Senator Klein disbanded the IDC, and rejoined the Senate Democratic Conference. The deals were already done however to give each of the eight members of the IDC primaries.
In the 34th Senate District Jeff Klein also faced someone who had never run for office. Klein's challenger was also a woman, Alessandra Biaggi who had worked for Governor Andrew Cuomo. She had a well known name in Riverdale a large part of the district that Klein had barely lost in 2014, but 2018 was a different story. Klein was facing the grand daughter of a very popular former Congressman who lived in Riverdale, by the name of Mario Biaggi. Voters in Riverdale overwhelmingly went for Ms. Biaggi over the man many had called a Republican parading around as a Democrat. After the September Primary results were in only two former members of the IDC won re-election to the State Senate. They were State Senator Diane Savino (Brooklyn/Staten Island), and State Senator David Carlucci (Rockland County).
2019 should have been a very quiet year politically, but with now former Public Advocate Letitia James being elected to fill the vacant New York State Attorney General position, there will now be a special election to fill the vacant position of Public Advocate. Dozens of elected officials and others associated with politics have announced their candidacy for the special election which will take place on Tuesday February 26, 2019. There will be a short time to gather the needed over 3,000-plus signatures to get on the non-partisan city special election, and candidates are going to come up with various party names to run under. The winner will have to run again in November, and should face a primary in September. The only other races would be that of Bronx District Attorney, and possibly a few judge positions that will be known after the September primary.
2019 will also be a key year, because it will be the year that leads up to the year 2020, where primaries for President and Congress take place in June, while State Assembly and State Senate primaries occur in September. They will lead up to the General Election in 2020 which could see either a new president or four more years of Donald Trump.