Tommorow I head to the polls in the special election to replaced the disgraced Carl Kruger. Despite the overwhelming Democratic registration edge in the district Republicans are making a serious play for the district, much of it undoubtedly encouraged by Republican congressman Bob Turner's victory last year in the special election to replace former congressman Anthony Weiner.
Last Friday, after a lull that seemed to last at least a week, I found my mailbox full of various mailings from the campaigns and the parties. The mailings from the campaigns touted the respective candidates' virtues, while the ones from the parties attacked the other side. This election is so important because Republican control in our state senate is extremely narrow.
Republicans control the chamber 32-30 after winning it back in 2010 following two years of 32-30 Democratic control and an abortive Republican coup attempt. A Republican win here would pick them up a seat and widen their majority to 33-29, while a Democratic win would hold our ground and keep it 32-30. Either way, winning this election could prove pivotal to which party wins senate control this November.
Now, I know who I will be voting for: Councilman Lew Fidler, the Democratic nominee. Unfortunately, we have no idea who will actually win the election. First, there was Turner's special election victory, all the more significant because the Brooklyn part of the district, which is a large part of this senate district, voted heavily for Turner. Second, many residents in the district are from the Former Soviet Union; they tend to be more conservative and lean more Republican. Third, there are many Orthodox Jews in this district and both campaigns are making a heavy play for the Orthodox vote.
On Saturday, I received a letter from the Fidler campaign signed by many important figures in the local Jewish community. While I have not received it, I also heard of a letter from David Storobin's campaign in which a list of rabbis have signed a letter endorsing the Republican. In addition to this letter, I also received a mailing from Councilman David Greenfield, who represents the overwhelmingly Jewish Borough Park and Midwood neighborhoods in Brooklyn and serves on the city council with Fidler. The mailer glowingly endorsed Fidler.
Storobin is running a typical Republican campaign of personal attacks and wedge issues, specifically on taxes and marriage equality. The latter may have some traction in a district that is Democratic, but socially conservative and in last year's congressional special election helped put the Republican over the top. Fidler is a good fit for this district and is definitely about as liberal as we will get. He is also a good Democrat that will not threaten to put a Republican in the majority leader's chair, as Carl Kruger threatened to do back in 2008 after Democrats regained the majority and Storobin would definitely do as a Republican.
In the end, I expect that Fidler will pull this out. However, this is not likely to be the comfortable win would expect in a district with such a large Democratic registration advantage or in what many perceive as being extremely liberal New York City. After all, the most vocal opponent of marriage equality in our state is State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., a Democrat from the Bronx. This election is far from being in the bag, so, if, like me, you live in New York's 27th Senate District, please remember to get out and vote tomorrow. It is extremely important.