Senate Republicans eager to expand into southern Brooklyn want to make some drastic changes to the borough’s district lines — and wipe disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger’s district off the map entirely.
State GOP leaders unveiled their proposal to redraw the borough’s nine state senate districts on Thursday, but their new map doesn’t include Kruger’s old stomping grounds — a swath of real estate between Brighton Beach and Mill Basin.
The GOP wants to divvy up those neighborhoods between state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and state Sen. John Sampson (D–Canarsie), a move Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) — who is vying to be Kruger’s replacement — sees as nothing more than a self-serving power grab by senate Republican leaders.
“[The proposed lines] are disgustingly partisan in nature,” Fidler said. “This is politics at its very worst.”
New York state assembly and senate lines are redrawn every ten years so the districts jive with population shifts outlined in the census. But critics say politicians use the redistricting process to make sure that the political party currently in power stays in power.
This year was no different, they claim: the senate GOP’s proposal allows Golden to scoop up thousands of additional voters in Manhattan Beach, Coney Island and Plumb Beach. It also creates a new “Jewish district” that will encompass Borough Park, Midwood and Homecrest — Orthodox neighborhoods that tend to vote Republican.
Kruger’s 27th District, at least in name only, will be relocated to Lower Manhattan, according to the new senate map.
If the Governor approves the changes, the new lines would take effect in 2013.
But Democratic leaders are pretty sure that’s not going to happen: Gov. Cuomo vowed to veto new maps if they were drawn in a partisan manner, they said.
“It’s unlikely that the proposed lines will be adopted,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D–Queens), chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. “We’re far from the end game.”
Gianaris said a court-appointed judge would most likely be called in to redraw the district lines if Democrats and Republicans can’t reach a compromise by March.
Fidler and Brighton Beach attorney David Storobin, his Republican opponent, both vowed to continue campaigning, even though the district they’re fighting over might disappear.
“The maps for the March 20th special election stand as is,” said Fidler. “Whatever ultimately happens with the lines, I will be running for re-election to the state senate this November from a district that includes neighborhoods that currently dominate [Kruger’s] District.”
Yet Fidler would not comment on what his bold promise may lead to — a showdown with either Golden, who got 65 percent of the vote against his 2010 democratic opponent, Mike DiSanto, or Sampson, a fellow Democrat.
Storobin spokesman David Simpson wouldn’t comment on the GOP’s apparent plan to pull the district out from under the vice chairman of the Kings County Republican County Committee — upending earlier claims that it expected to spend upwards of $500,000 on Storobin’s campaign.
“The last thing David cares about is what’s going on in Albany,” Simpson said.
Fidler and Storobin wouldn’t be the only ones affected by the GOP’s borough-wide makeover. Senate Republicans also want to:
• Move Sampson’s district, which encompasses East New York and Canarsie, further west into Bergen Beach and Mill Basin.
• Force state Sen. Kevin Parker (D–Flatbush) into Greenwood Heights and Park Slope while removing the Borough Park and Midwood portions of his district.
• Take most of Park Slope away from state Sen. Eric Adams (D–Park Slope).
Kruger (D–Brighton Beach) resigned last month after tearfully pleading guilty to accepting nearly $1 million in bribes.