In the New York primary on Thursday, Democrats rung in a new wave of leadership. Although establishment-aligned Andrew Cuomo and Letitia James won their races for governor and attorney general, progressives defeated many members of the Democratic old guard in state senate races.
In the race for attorney general, James defeated Zephyr Teachout, per Vox. James maintained a strong lead throughout the election thanks to endorsements from incumbent governor, Cuomo. Though James herself is apathetic towards her label as an establishment Democrat, her sights are trained on the president.
Although Cynthia Nixon, the progressive gubernatorial candidate, wasn’t able to secure a spot in the general election, her allies won overwhelmingly. Six incumbent senators and former members of the Independent Democratic Conference lost their reelection campaigns to new politicians hungry for change.
The New York Times reports that members of the now-disbanded Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) have been called “Trump’s Democrats.” Formed in 2011, the group of eight senators essentially presented as Democratic, but brokered a deal with the GOP to respectfully fall on the sword politically whenever necessary.
Now, only two members of the IDC are left in power. The group’s leader, Senator Jeff Klein, was also notably defeated by Alessandra Biaggi. Biaggi’s victory could mean progress, not only for New York, but also for the entire Democratic party. Her policies include fair housing, prioritizing public education, healthcare for all, as well as moving toward renewable energy for the state of New York.
Socialist Julia Salazar also represents the primary’s shake-ups, as she defeated Senator Martin Dilan, who sought his ninth reelection, per Vox. Salazar also hopes to bring an end to gender discrimination in all her policies.
Both these women, along with many opponents of the IDC, worked closely with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who provided canvassing support. The defeat of these apathetic incumbents could mean major change—but we won’t know for sure until the general elections in November.