The race to replace former state Sen. Carl Kruger is on.
Gov. Cuomo announced that the disgraced ex-pol’s vacant seat will be filled in a March 20 special election, setting the stage for a possible showdown between Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) and Brighton Beach attorney David Storobin.
Candidates will be chosen by Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick) and Brooklyn Republican Party Chairman Craig Eaton, who quickly endorsed Storobin the day after Cuomo’s Jan. 9 announcement.
“David has the makings of a great public servant,” Eaton said. “He’ll remove the stain of disgrace left by Carl Kruger.”
Lopez hadn’t made an endorsement by Tuesday night, but political insiders say Fidler, who has been eyeing Kruger’s seat since the embattled senator was indicted on corruption charges, has Lopez’s support and more than $331,000 in his war chest, making him the clear front-runner for the seat which cuts a broad swath from Brighton Beach to Bergen Beach.
Fidler evaded questions about his run, claiming that he wanted to “respect the process.”
Yet people are already lining up to replace him.
Canarsie activist Mercedes Narcisse said she announced her candidacy for Fidler’s seat on Jan. 3 in order to get a jump-start on campaigning.
“I wanted to start early [and] I have to be prepared,” said the Haitian-born businesswoman and mother of five who ran for the seat in 2009, but backed down when Fidler sought re-election after term limits were extended.
Narcisse has strong name recognition in Canarsie, but will face an uphill battle if Frank Seddio — a former assemblyman, surrogate court judge and the current district leader in Canarise — decides to enter the race.
“If there was an opening I would strongly consider running,” Seddio said. “But Lew has to win his election first.”
Fidler has been Kruger’s presumed heir apparent since the senator’s career unraveled last March when federal prosecutors charged that he used his office as a personal piggy bank filled by deep-pocket lobbyists in exchange for his help on legislative matters.
Kruger professed his innocence for nearly a year before pleading guilty on Dec. 20 to accepting $1 million in bribes — a crime which could send the scandal-tarred ex-pol to jail for 50 years.