NYS Senators at the Democratic Convention, on May 23rd, set their focus on symbolically removing Senator Simcha Felder from the Party. Still the next day, Felder vowed to continue representing the interests of the residents of the 17th Senate District, as he was elected to do. “It is disheartening to see so many Democratic party operatives focused on throwing me out,” Felder said. “What is more important to me is serving my constituents.”
Since Felder’s decisive victory in the 2012 Senate election, he has opted to vote on the side of Republicans, instead of in alliance with his Democratic Party members, giving the Republicans a marginal majority in the Senate. This has made Felder a thorn among his fellow Democrats. Despite the known opposition against him, Felder attended the Democratic Conference, saying he will appear so as to benefit his district. “I was elected to represent my constituents, not a particular party,” said Felder, defending his choices.
As reported by VIN News, executive party director Geoff Berman slammed down his gavel at the Convention, announcing “yea” votes as the majority, for the resolution to remove Felder from the Democratic Party. Brooklyn delegate David Schwartz disagreed, calling the decision a “sham.” Legally, the party can only remove Felder with the approval of party chairman Frank Seddio. Consequently, the party’s aspirations to oust Felder were in vain. “The Brooklyn democratic chair is opposed to the resolution,” said Seddio’s spokesman, George Arzt. “Frank Seddio will take no action against Simcha Felder.” Arzt also explained that there was no actual count taken of the votes for the resolution.
A second resolution was passed the night of the convention, wherein Democrats agreed to give their full backing to whoever will run against Felder in the September 13th primary for the Central Brooklyn district, which includes Prospect Heights, East Flatbush and Crown Heights.
In response to the news Blake Morris, who is likely to be Felder’s contender in September’s primary, tweeted to the public, “Here is good coverage of what the NY State Democratic Party ‘kicking Felder out’ actually means: not much. This is why I still need your support as the only way to ‘kick Felder out’ is to beat him at the polls.”