One of Brooklyn leading progressive idealogues yesterday delivered a letter with over 20 signed affidavits from registered Democrats to Brooklyn Democratic Party chair Frank Seddio asking that State Sen. Simcha Felder (D) be removed from the Democratic party for his lack of sympathy and loyalty to the party.
Ernest Skinner, who has an East Flatbush Democratic Club named after him, sent the letter with the affidavits from registered Democrats in Felder’s 17th Senate District. Under party bylaws, once members file a complaint with the Brooklyn Democratic Party Committee to have a member disenrolled, the executive committee is required to hold hearings and issue a report on whether to throw a member out of the party.
“For too long, Senator Felder has betrayed the Brooklyn Democratic party and they have done nothing about it. I know many fellow Democrats in Senate District 17 [Felder’s district] who feel abandoned, both by their state senator and by their party,” said Skinner, noting how Felder has caucused with the Senate GOP ever since he was elected to the chamber in 2012.
Noreen Harnik, a Midwood resident who lives in Senate District 17, explained her reason for signing the affidavit: “If Simcha Felder wants to run for election, that’s his right. But if he wants to run as a Democrat, then he has to show some actual loyalty to that party. Otherwise, he should run as something else. If I vote for a Democrat, I expect to get a Democrat.”
The letter comes after the State Democratic party in May passed a nonbinding resolution to remove Felder from the party.
Following the resolution passage, Seddio said he strongly disagreed with it.
“Democrats are a diverse group of people who are supposed to accept differences of opinion and respect those opinions regardless of whether or not we agree with them. This resolution could have been written by Donald Trump against those who he perceived have disagreed with him. As the head of the largest Democratic county in the country, I will not accept this recommendation nor will I act in manner that is detrimental to a member of my party in my county,” said Seddio.
Felder has repeatedly said in the past that he doesn’t consider a political party a religion and his loyalty lies to God, his wife and his constituents.“God blessed me with not caring about this [party politics] stuff. I’m issues driven, not politics driven,” he said in a May 2017 KCP story.
But Blake Morris, who is running against Felder in the Democratic primary said the letter underlines what Democrats have been saying for almost six years that they want a real Democrat representing the district in the state Senate.
“Mr. Skinner’s actions will require Simcha Felder, finally to admit that he is a Republican and should run as a Republican and get out of the Democratic Party,” said Morris, who has collected over 4,000 signatures to appear on the ballot in the primary.
“I have known county chair Frank Seddio for many years and he is man of his word and has been very clear that no one has ever asked him to legally unenroll Simcha Felder as a Democratic voter, until now,” he added.
Both Seddio and Felder had no comment on Skinner’s letter.
The Democratic Primary is slated for Sept. 13. The district includes Midwood, Flatbush, Borough Park, Kensington, Sunset Park, Madison and Bensonhurst.