Applause erupted a half hour after midnight Wednesday morning at Chaim Deutsch’s Avenue U headquarters, when the numbers finally convinced the unlikely victor’s campaign that he would be the 48th Council District’s next councilman.
“Good morning,” Deutsch exclaimed before a jubilant crowd of supporters outside his campaign office. “This victory isn’t about me, it’s about you, the people of the 48th Council District.”
It was a later night for Deutsch than for most other Democratic candidates across New York City on election night, which was no big surprise for the only non-Russian-speaker battling for office in what’s been dubbed the “Super Russian District.”
Last year, the Redistricting Council cut a large Jewish voting block in Midwood out of the 48th, while simultaneously bringing in a mainly Russian-speaking neighborhood in Brighton Beach into the district, with tacit goal of electing an ethnic Russian to the City Council.
With Tuesday’s victory, Deutsch — an orthodox Jew — has defeated three Russian candidates, including Republican candidate David Storobin in the general election, along with Igor Oberman and Ari Kagan during the democratic Primary.
Ari Kagan arrived at Deutsch’s campaign HQ shortly after midnight on Wednesday morning to congratulate the victor. And Storobin, for his part, was gracious in defeat.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Deutsch, and I would like to wish him well,” said Storobin in the early hours Wednesday Morning. “I have a lot of respect for him. I think he’s a good person and will make a great councilman.”
Deutsch, who served as an aide to the term-limited incumbent, Councilman Michael Nelson, for his entire 14-years in office, was well known throughout the district for his constituent-service work and well as his role as a founder of the Flatbush Shomrim.
He was particularly active in emergency rescue and recovery efforts following the events of Hurricane Sandy.
At one point, Deutsch even came under fire from the NYC Parks Department after he and members of the Flatbush Shomrim had taken it upon themselves to cut up and cart off trees that had fallen across Brooklyn roadways after the city failed to clear them in the days the storm.
Deutsch pounded the pavement hard during his campaign. Assemblyman Alan Maisel, who won a council victory of his own over Anthony Testaverde in the 46th District, recalled seeing Deutsch personally campaigning outside a grocery store late at night in the days leading up the primary.
“Throughout this campaign, I have walked the streets of this district. I have met the people and I have listened to the their concerns,” an elated Deutsch said following his victory. “I understand the unique difficulties that face the residents of this district and I am eager to tackle the issues.”