Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, the leader of a breakaway faction of Democrats, edged away from an agreement made with the mainline conference of Democrats earlier this year, saying in an interview on Monday that “a lot has changed.”
In an interview on The Capitol Pressroom, Klein insisted he remained committed to electing more Democrats to the state Senate.
But at the same time, Klein acknowledged that it’s likely no one will be sure who has a clear majority in the chamber after Election Day, signaling that his conference will once again be in a position to play kingmaker.
“I think you have a lot of competitive races, I’ll be very surprised if we know tomorrow evening if there will be more Democrats than Republicans in the state Senate,” Klein said.In a foreshadowing of what is to come this month – and potentially for the end of the year – Klein would not rule out working with Senate Republicans in some capacity next year.
“I’m a Democrat, I want to elect Democrats, but when the dust settles it’s incumbent on us to work together,” Klein said, adding: “I think it’s premature to say what anyone is going to do until the dust settles.”
In a clear overture to Cuomo, Klein criticized those on “the extreme left” who have been critical of the governor, saying such statements hurt the Democratic ticket.
Democrats taking back the State Senate would not have guaranteed a more pro-public education or teacher-friendly body.
But you can be sure if Klein is co-running the State Senate along with GOP leader Dean Skelos, it will remain an Eva Moskowitz-friendly body that will give Cuomo whatever he wants on the charter cap, a revision to APPR to make it more punitive and his desire to "break" the public school "monopoly" this next term.
We'll see if Klein decides to go all the way with the betrayal - 2016 is expected to be a better year for Dems, with Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, expanding the turnout for Dems.
So Klein has to maneuver carefully here.
He can end up holding power for two years before Dems retake the Senate and exact revenge on him.
But I'm not surprised he's already walking back from his promise to caucus with Dems.
Klein's a slippery fellow, that's for sure - as are many of his fellow members of the IDC.