Disgraced former state Sen. Carl Kruger’s replacement might never make it to Albany.
Political insiders say the state Senate’s 2012 session is scheduled to end in June, possibly before the city declares a winner in the ongoing slugfest between Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) and Republican David Storobin for Kruger’s vacant seat — meaning that whoever wins will not be able to cast a single vote before his district is eliminated at the end of the year.
“I don’t think the election will be settled before June 30,” said former Bensonhurst state Sen. Seymour Lachman, the current director of the Hugh L. Carey Center for Government Reform at Wagner College in Staten Island. “There’s a lot of important legislation that will have to be discussed and voted on before then. People in Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay and Mill Basin will have been disenfranchised.”
Kruger’s successor will still have a district office through December.
Storobin emerged with a 120-vote lead on election night, but his margin of victory shrank to just three votes after the Board of Elections counted half of the more than 700 absentee ballots and affidavits.
Both sides contested more than 300 remaining ballots, ensuring that the race’s outcome will be determined in court.
Court-appointed referees determined that two-thirds of the challenged ballots were valid, and asked Supreme Court Judge Larry Martin to review the rest of the votes — 119 of which Fidler claims his opponent obtained illegally. Martin is scheduled to rule on the recommendations on April 19 and schedule a hearing about the so-called fraudulent ballots — which insiders say will delay the outcome of the election even further.
If neither candidate is leading by more than 110 votes when all the legitimate ballots are counted, the city will have to count each vote by hand to establish the winner.
In February, the state approved new political maps that would eliminate Kruger’s seat, as part of the decennial redistricting process to make sure legislative districts jive with population shifts outlined in the census.
— with Will Bredderman