Whoever replaces Carl Kruger in today’s special election will have all of eight months to savor the win before the disgraced legislator’s district disappears — but the real challenge for the candidates is just getting underway, political insiders say.
Voters living between Brighton Beach and Bergen Beach are going to the polls to pick between Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) and Republican attorney David Storobin, ending a heated campaign for the seat Kruger gave up last December before pleading guilty to accepting $1 million in bribes.
But the district’s days are numbered: state legislators have finalized new political maps that will carve up Kruger’s old stomping grounds between state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), Senate Minority Leader John Sampson (D–Canarsie) and a new district that will encompass Borough Park, Midwood and parts of Homecrest, where Orthodox residents tend to vote Republican.
That means, come November, the winner of today’s special election will have to choose between retiring from politics, taking on Golden or Sampson, or running for the open election in the new Jewish district.
Political watchdogs say Fidler is much more likely to run in the new district or face Golden than take on Sampson.
Fidler declined to comment on the matter, but hinted strongly in January that he plans to run for a state senate seat this fall.
“Whatever ultimately happens with the lines, I will be running for re-election,” Fidler said.
Storobin also declined to discuss his plans, but is said to be eyeing the new Borough Park district as well.
Glenn Nocera, the president of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, said the 32-year-old Soviet-born lawyer would most likely be the Republican front-runner in the race for the conservative Jewish district, whether he wins or loses today.
“Either way it’s a win-win,” Nocera said.
But others say Fidler could win the new district — and even beat Golden, a popular GOP figure in Southern Brooklyn, if he sets his mind to the task.
“If Fidler’s forced to run in the new Orthodox district or against Golden, he’s got a track record to run on,” said state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Coney Island), who saw her district lines change slightly under the new plan.
New York state assembly and senate lines are redrawn every decade so the districts jive with population shifts outlined in the census. Critics, pointing to the new conservative district being built in Borough Park, say politicians use the redistricting process to make sure that the political party currently in power stays in power.