May 21, 2018 By Tara Law
The Queens County Democratic Party has endorsed State Sen. Jose Peralta—a former member of a group of senators that broke away from the party—to represent the Democrats in his reelection bid for the 13th District this year.
The committee to reelect Peralta (D- Ditmars Steinway, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Corona) announced the party’s decision to endorse the candidate today. The Queens County Democratic Party, which is headed by Congressman Joe Crowley, is recognized as one of the most powerful political organizations in New York City.
The Democrats endorsed Peralta despite heavy criticism from some party members. Many claimed he was disloyal to the party by joining the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of eight Democrats who aligned themselves with senate Republicans.
Peralta defended his decision when he joined the IDC in January 2017, claiming that he would be able to bring greater resources to the district and pass more legislation via the IDC’s alliance with the Republicans, who control the senate.
The IDC agreed to reunify with the mainstream Democratic party last month amid heavy political pressure to present a united front against the Republicans in order to take control of the senate at this year’s election.
Several progressive candidates announced that they were challenging IDC candidates in the Democratic primary prior to the reunification, including Andrea Marra and Jessica Ramos in the 13th District. Both Ramos and Marra said that Peralta’s decision to join the IDC contributed to their decision to run.
Michael Reich, the executive director of the Queens County Democratic Party, said that the party had agreed to endorse Peralta, claiming that he is true to the party’s ideals.
“New Yorkers want to see their public officials fighting to advance progressive values and enact measures that will create good-paying jobs, expand access to health care, protect immigrants, and keep guns out of our schools and communities,” Reich said.
Peralta accepted the party’s endorsement, saying that he would continue his “commitment to champion progressive values.”
“Working with my Queens colleagues, I have fought tirelessly for working men and women by successfully raising the minimum wage and passing paid family leave, bettering our schools, securing historic levels of legal aid funding for immigrants, and protecting tenants and homeowners,” Peralta said. “Our work is not over, but this endorsement signals to the people of Queens that we are united in fighting for them.”
Senate candidate Ramos responded to the Queens County Democrats’ decision in a statement, calling it “convenient” that Peralta had decided to rejoin the Democrats in an election year.
“Comptroller Stringer, Council Members Constantinides and Van Bramer, the Working Families Party, and thousands of grassroots supporters are supporting our campaign — because they know that unlike Peralta, I will never betray our district or our party,” said Ramos.
The Queens County Democratic Party did not respond to a request for further comment by the time this article was published.