Rogue Democrats heal schism in New York state Senate

ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- New York Senate Democrats have resolved a longstanding internal power struggle that empowered Republicans and prevented votes on liberal priorities including gun control, early voting, abortion rights and help for immigrants.

Late Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a cease-fire ending seven years of warfare within the party in Albany.

A small, breakaway group called the IDC -- the Independent Democratic Conference -- was led by Jeff Klein from the Bronx, and the group often allowed Republicans to run things. But now, that's all over.

Cuomo said the Trump Administration had forced Democrats to come together in a united front.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Nixon, who is running against Cuomo, was critical of the governor and even took credit for the development on Twitter.

"This announcement on the IDC deal shows the power of our movement," she wrote. "Now a terrified establishment is throwing voters a bone."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also blasted Cuomo, blaming him for seven years of allowing a handful of renegade state senators to call the shots in Albany.

"He's aided and abetted from the beginning," de Blasio said. "He's one of the reasons the IDC exists and one of the reasons we've had defacto Republican government in the state senate for a long time."

Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers will lead the combined group, with Klein as deputy leader.

Republicans control the Senate with support from the IDC and a ninth breakaway Democrat, Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder. Felder hasn't said whether he'll also return to the Democrats.

Republicans still hold the Senate majority for now, though Democrats hope to take over following two special Senate elections April 24.

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