Election experts: Fidler will win Kruger’s seat

Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) may be fighting for a senate district that won't exist in 11 months.
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

Councilman Lew Fidler will pull out a victory over GOP attorney David Storobin in their deadlocked race to replace disgraced former state Sen. Carl Kruger, according to experts analyzing the latest poll numbers from the special election.

Experts say the Marine Park Democrat, who trailed Storobin by just three votes in the undecided two-week-old race, will win the battle for the more than 300 unopened absentee ballots and affidavits both sides have challenged, which will put him over the top.

Fidler is already ahead by more than 100 votes, experts claim: court-appointed referees said that 145 of Storobin’s challenges were valid and should be counted.

Richard Hasen, a leading election law specialist from the University of California said candidates invariably challenge ballots they think they’ll lose, so the 145 votes Storobin objected to should go to Fidler once Supreme Court Judge David Schmidt validates them.

Referees also recommended that Judge Schmidt throw out 38 votes that Fidler and Storobin challenged and validate 37 of the votes Fidler questioned — votes that should go to Storobin.

The jury is still out on more than 120 challenges, which both parties say were obtained fraudulently.

Justice Schmidt is scheduled to rule on the case next week, but political insiders say he will likely order the Board of Elections to add the votes the referees validated to the final total, and hold a court hearing on the remaining 124. Political insiders say Judge Schmidt will most likely throw out the votes Fidler and Storobin say are fraudulent, giving Fidler the lead.

Storobin’s election-night lead of 120 votes jumped to 143 after the Board of Elections completed a paper ballot recount, but the GOP attorney’s margin of victory shrank to three votes after half of the 700-plus absentee ballots and affidavits were tallied.

If neither candidate is leading by more than 110 votes after the challenges are reviewed, the city said it will conduct a second recount, or a re-recount.

But whoever wins won’t have much time to represent the wide swath of Southern Brooklyn real estate, which stretches from Brighton Beach to Bergen Beach: the district is not included in the new state-approved district maps, which take effect at the end of the year.

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