Southern Brooklyn Republicans want voters who are angry with disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger to start seeing red, and they say they have the candidate — and the cash — that will push the area further to the right.
State Sen. Marty Golden says the special election for Kruger’s seat — a district borough Republicans have until now ignored — could cost more than $500,000 to win, but the GOP is willing to put up the money to see Brighton Beach attorney David Storobin, a 32-year-old first-time candidate, beat Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park).
“I think the race is going to be over $1 million for both sides,” Golden (R–Bay Ridge) said. “I know we’re going to spend a good number. We’re invested in Storobin.”
Southern Brooklyn has long been considered a democratic stronghold, but that changed last fall when Rep. Bob Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) beat Assemblyman David Weprin (D–Queens) in the race to replace former democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned following a cybersex scandal.
Nearly 66 percent of ballots in Kruger’s district were cast for Turner, who campaigned on an anti-President Obama, pro-Israel platform.
The Brooklyn GOP’s base of operations has been Bay Ridge for years, where GOP leaders include Golden, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge), and Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge), who beat Democratic incumbent Michael McMahon in 2010.
Golden’s senate district extends into Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach, but the five-term senator says he wants to spread the GOP’s influence even further, and the fall of Kruger last month created the opportunity to do so. Kruger resigned his seat just hours before he pleaded guilty to taking $1 million in bribes.
To move the seat into the red, Golden has put together a Republican dream team filled with GOP bigwigs and campaign professionals who helped get Turner (R–Sheepshead Bay) and Grimm in office — a group that includes former Staten Island Borough President and GOP powerhouse Guy Molinari.
Storobin, who is also vice chairman of the Kings County Republican County Committee, says Fidler supports gay marriage and tax hikes — decisions he claims will not resonate with the area’s growing Russian and Orthodox Jewish communities.
“He’s easily the most liberal politician in Southern Brooklyn,” Storobin said during a campaign kick-off celebration in Sheepshead Bay on Wednesday, where he appeared with Golden. “We’re tired of being represented by people who ignore what we believe in.”
Fidler, whose council district overlaps Kruger’s old stomping grounds, has been laying the groundwork for his campaign since Kruger was indicted. He already has more than $331,000 in his war chest, making him — at least so far — the financial front-runner in an area where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a margin of three-to-one.
Storobin hasn’t told the state Board of Elections how much he’s raised, but those close to the candidate told the Politicker, a political blog, that he’s cobbled together about $120,000 — $50,000 of which came from his own pocket.
The special election is scheduled for March 20.