Cash Infusion into Local State Senate Race Revives Debate Over Who’s the ‘Real Democrat’


Alcantara (left) and Jackson (right) are on the ballot in the Democratic primary for State Senate on Thursday.

State Senator Marisol Alcantara, who represents sections of the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights and Washington Heights, received a large infusion of money from a group called the Senate Independence Campaign Committee (SICC) in recent days. Alcantara received $125,000 from the SICC, according to the most recent filing, and has received $295,750 in 2018, Gothamist reports. Among the donors to SICC is the Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY).

Alcantara was a member of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of Democrats who caucused with Republicans, throwing control of the State Senate to the GOP. That allowed GOP leaders to squash legislation expanding rights for LGBTQ people and updating the state’s abortion laws to enshrine pro-choice protections that are now being threatened on the federal level, critics note.

Gothamist reports that the SICC was aligned with the IDC, and a judge had ruled that $1.4 million in previous SICC donations were illegal. Since then the IDC has rejoined the mainline Democrats, but some Albany-watchers remain skeptical that that alliance will hold.

The IDC members now face challengers in Thursday’s primary — Alcantara faces Robert Jackson, a former City Councilman known for his education advocacy. Jackson has been endorsed by Congressman Jerry Nadler and other Upper West Side Democratic politicians. Other Democratic challengers include Tirso Pina and Thomas Leon.

Jackson has argued that Alcantara sold out the Democrats by aligning with the IDC and Republicans, and that she continues to benefit from those alliances. Alcantara, a longtime labor organizer, has said that she supports liberal positions, and has been able to achieve positive and progressive change for her constituents.

Alcantara’s spokesman responded to Gothamist about the SICC donations.

“Senator Alcantara has fully complied with state election laws throughout her campaign, and will continue to comply with them for the duration of her campaign,” said Michael Oliva, a spokesperson for the Alcantara campaign. Oliva then accused Jackson of being beholden to donors outside of the state rather than to the voters in the district.

Here are Jackson and Alcantara’s websites. Leon has a Facebook supporters page here. On the “about page” of his site, it says he lives in the Dominican Republic. We could not find a webpage for Pina.

Remember to vote this THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2018! Information on where to vote and sample ballots are is available here.

NEWS | 13 comments | permalink
    1. PaulCons says:

      It’s not that comlicated, she broke with Democrats, voted with the rethugs, aligned with the rethugs, turn the state senate over to rethug control when it had a Democratic majority. NOW she claims membership in the Democrat Party? All of these IDC turncoats need to be shown the door…

      • Janice says:

        Agree!

      • nycityny says:

        It’s the “Democratic” party, not “Democrat” party. “Democrat” is the snide moniker assigned by Republicans. The purpose is to annoy democrats and deny them/us the description of being (lower case d) democratic.

    2. West Side Watcher says:

      There’s really no question here — Alcantara is a traitor and completely untrustworthy. Vote her out!

    3. Gretchen says:

      Please be aware: Alcantara is NOT a real Democrat – she’s an IDC “Democrat” which is fraud because she votes and caucuses repeatedly with the Republicans in Albany. She has been denounced by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, former NYS Gov. David Paterson, Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal and Danny O’Donnell, City Councilmember Mark Levine, and other notables. Real Democrats: DON’T BE FOOLED. Robert Jackson, is True Blue and I’m voting for him.

      • Shibboleth says:

        It is not even that she is ideologically conservative or votes with Republicans. It is worse. The only reason she joined the IDC was for personal financial gain (i.e. Republican funneled IDC cash).

    4. E. Lang says:

      Yeah, Ms. Law-abiding Alcantara, who continues to violate the 1st Amendment rights of constituents with whose opinions she does not agree by blocking them from reading her official Twitter and Facebook accounts. She’s a phony and a fraud and deserves to be booted out.

    5. Bob Lamm says:

      It would be absurd to trust the IDC traitors. If they win their primaries, they could cut a new deal on Friday with the State Senate Republicans. But let’s not forget: the dirty deal between the IDC and the Republicans never would have happened without Andrew Cuomo. He wanted the GOP to retain control of the State Senate.

    6. Janice says:

      Once I heard that Alcantara was part of the IDC, she lost my vote. Jackson definitely has my vote.

    7. Bruce bernstein says:

      no idc!

      Vote Robert Jackson!

    8. EricaC says:

      Why run as a democrat if you’re really a Republican? It seems dishonest.

    9. Carlos says:

      If more people had used their brains and voted for Lasher last time, none of this would have happened…

    10. MarieNYC says:

      Alcantara is a fake and a traitor. She won her seat as a Democrat then betrayed voters by joining Jeff Klein and the IDC and used her power to vote like a Republican for the Trump agenda. Public schools were robbed of the funding they deserve because of Alcantara and the IDC, please vote for Robert Jackson . Hopefully this will be her last term. No IDC baggage deserves to be re-elected