Main | Thursday, November 15, 2012

NEW YORK: Democrats Seek To Expel Renegade State Sen. Simcha Felder

As I noted yesterday, newly-elected Democratic state Sen. Simcha Felder has announced that he will caucus with the GOP, imperiling the chance of Democratic control of the chamber for the first time in many years, not to mention jeopardizing the long overdue Gender Non-Discrimination Act, which has languished for a decade. Now the Democrats say they are exploring how to expel Felder from the party.
George Arzt, a spokesman for the Kings County Democratic Leader, told me Democratic party officials are looking at "both the Kings County and state Democratic Party rules" to see if Felder could be ousted from the party. "If they do not have provisions, they will propose ways of expelling members for actions of this type," Arzt said. Already, Assemblyman Nick Perry, also of Brooklyn, wrote on Twitter that Felder "should be removed from [the] Dem[ocratic] Party. Let the GOP have him." In a statement this evening, the Brooklyn Democratic County Leader Frank Seddio, said, "Felder's entire campaign was a lie." "Every elected Democrat has an moral obligation to support the leadership of the party in the Legislature, but Felder has elected to betray that trust, not to mention the sacred trust of voters," Seddio said.
Felder was elected from Brooklyn's newly-drawn and heavily Orthodox Jewish district. His campaign was supported by Democratic state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, one of New York's nastiest opponents of LGBT rights. (During the 2011 marriage battle Hikind said that if New York were to approve same-sex marriage, "We take the Torah, God forbid, and throw it in the garbage.") Responding to the ouster threats, Felder said yesterday, "The Democratic party doesn’t sound very democratic today."

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