Councilman Lew Fidler’s brief lead over GOP opponent David Storobin in the still-too-close-to-call race to replace prison-bound ex-pol Carl Kruger is about to disappear.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Larry Martin ordered the Board of Elections to count 119 absentee ballots Fidler (D–Marine Park) claimed the Storobin camp obtained illegally, ruling late yesterday that there was no evidence of voter fraud in the March 20 special election.
Political insiders say Fidler’s 87-vote lead will likely be eliminated and Storobin will surge ahead by approximately 30 votes once the city opens the contested ballots — which both sides expect were cast for the Republican rookie.
Yet Fidler spokesman Kalman Yeger maintains that a Storobin volunteer duped Russian voters into supporting the Soviet-born lawyer — and slammed the court’s decision.
“The Storobin camp knows exactly what it did,” Yeger said. “This election and this count are far from over.”
That’s because if neither candidate is up by 110 votes after all the ballots are counted, the city is required to do a manual recount — an outcome that both sides now say is inevitable.
A Storobin spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Storobin took a 120-vote lead on election night, but his margin of victory shrank to just three votes after several hundred absentee ballots and affidavits were counted.
Both sides contested the approximately 300 absentee ballots in court, and last week Fidler — who entered the race as the presumed frontrunner — surged ahead after most of the remaining votes were tallied.
But whoever wins Brooklyn’s version of Florida’s 2000 Bush vs. Gore election will only have a few months in office before Kruger’s district disappears.
Albany leaders approved new political maps that divvied up Kruger’s old stomping grounds between two borough state senators and a new “Super Jewish” district that encompasses Borough Park, Midwood and Homecrest. The new maps take effect in January.
The special election was called after Kruger resigned his post and pleaded guilty to accepting nearly $1 million in bribes from deep-pocketed developers and lobbyists.
Kruger was sentenced to seven years in prison last week.