Leader of Dem Breakaways Gets Primary Foe From Left

ALBANY (AP) -

Former state Attorney General Oliver Koppell is launching a primary challenge against Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein, whom he has criticized for breaking with fellow Democrats in the power-sharing deal that keeps Republicans in control of the Senate.

Koppell, a former New York City councilmember and state assemblyman, said Monday he decided to run because action on progressive issues has stalled during the alliance between Klein’s five-member Independent Democratic Conference and the Senate Republicans.

“Sen. Klein has betrayed the Democratic Party, but more importantly, he’s betrayed the very principles he pretends to espouse,” Koppell told The Associated Press. “As a result of what Sen. Klein has done, really to feed his own ego and to maximize his own personal power, important political and policy objectives are being foiled.”

Candice Giove, a spokeswoman for Klein, was quick to reject Koppell’s comments, saying that the “failed” Democratic Conference is best known for its corruption and dysfunction.

“They’re the traitors to the Democratic Party’s fundamental ideals of honest and efficient government,” Giove added.

The challenger was an assemblyman for 23 years before being appointed to fill the final year left in the term of Attorney General Robert Abrams, who resigned. Koppel sought a full term in 1994 but lost in the primary.