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.
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