Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz secured his sixth term in office on Tuesday, defeating GOP opponent Russell Gallo by more than 2,500 votes.
Cymbrowitz had received more than 60 percent of the vote as the polls closed in Hurricane Sandy-scarred Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach. Gallo and Independent candidate Ben Akselrod — who Cymbrowitz defeated in the September Democratic primary — split the remainder, according to unofficial tallies.
Cymbrowitz thanked a small assemblage of supporters at the Turkish Cultural Center on Avenue U as poll numbers trickled in, knowing full well that his victory wasn’t the only thing on his voters’ minds.
“There’s mixed feelings at a time when so much of my community has been devastated by Hurricane Sandy,” said Cymbrowitz. “But I’m pleased that my constituents thought I’m the best candidate to deal with this situation.”
Cymbrowitz’s reelection campaign featured three contestants but was fought on two fronts as Akselrod and Gallo ganged up on the five-term legislator.But Cymbrowitz wouldn’t bite back.
He bowed out of two scheduled debates — including one held by the Manhattan Beach Community Group — leading up to the election, claiming that he couldn’t trust the tony neighborhood civic of being unbiased because they had criticized him in the past.
Gallo pounced on Cymbrowitz’s decision and had his staff hand out missing-person fliers featuring the democratic candidate on the night of the debate at PS 195.
As the race heated up, Akselrod accused Cymbrowitz of favoring political correctness over the needs of his constituents, and lashed out at the legislator for refusing to take a stand on the Sheepshead Bay mosque, even though the controversial house of worship is not in his district.
Cymbrowitz remained mum on the issues, but he must have been saying the right things to the right people: he had more than $44,000 going into the final stretch of the campaign, doubling Gallo’s $25,200, and dwarfing Akselrod’s puny $3,400 war chest.