In the wake of Republican Brooklyn Senate candidate David Storobin’s strong special election performance last night, Nachman Caller, who had been a near-sure GOP candidate for state Senate this fall, tells City & State he would step aside if Storobin emerges victorious.
Caller, a Republican wealthy real estate attorney who is Orthodox Jewish, had been planning to run in the so-called Super-Jewish Senate seat drawn by Albany Republicans. But in a statement, Caller said he will back off should Storobin pull out an unexpected victory, since Storobin has “earned the right to represent the community in Albany.”
Currently, Storobin is up by 120 votes, with some 700 absentee ballots still to be counted.
“At the beginning of this short race I said that this would be an opportunity for Kiddush HaShem,” Caller said. “I fully expect David Storobin to prevail and he has earned the right to represent the community in Albany. Congratulations to all those who assisted in defying the predictions of the pundits. Together, as a community, we have proven that Jewish votes cannot be taken for granted by politicians who trample on the principles of our Holy Torah.”
Throughout the campaign between Democratic Councilman Lew Fidler and Storobin, Caller has placed ads bashing Fidler’s pro-same sex marriage position, in preparation for his own run this fall. In fact, many in Brooklyn’s Orthodox political establishment had anticipated that Storobin would lose, and that one of their own would run this fall as a Republican against Fidler.
Storobin’s residence was cut out of the new Super-Jewish district, as was much of his Russian base. And with all the uncertainty around last night’s special election, it remains unclear whether another Orthodox Republican candidate would emerge to challenge Storobin – and who Senate Republicans would back in that case.
Well-known Jewish political operative Michael Fragin, a former advisor to Gov. George Pataki who was the Jewish liaison for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2005 re-election campaign, has been advising Caller’s efforts.
And Fragin, in a statement unlikely to be well-received by Fidler’s camp, suggested to City & State that it would be politically beneficial for Fidler to concede right now, since the special election shows Fidler would lose badly anyway in the Super-Jewish district.
“Lew Fidler is best off conceding,” Fragin wrote to me in an email. “What does he need to go to Albany for? He is Assistant Majority Leader of the Council. If he wins, then he goes to Albany as part of a minority conference that wields little power and is feuding with Governor Cuomo. He also has no incumbency in that seat in that it is pretty much eliminated. Additionally, he take a substantial pay cut and a grueling commute. What’s the point?”
Until more specific results from last night come back, it will be difficult to know how Fidler performed in the Orthodox community, but people at Fidler’s campaign party last night did not seem to think he had fared especially well. Sources close to Fidler have held out the possibility that he could instead run against Republican State Sen. Marty Golden.
Our Laura Nahmias caught some comments today from Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos on the special election result:
“Mr. Storobin, who is a great candidate and [whose] campaign committee ran a very aggressive absentee ballot campaign, I think we’re going to be successful. But really what it’s about is our message is resonating in a district that’s 5 to 1 democrat, that Republicans are making government function,” Skelos said. “That we’re looking to cut taxes, cut spending and do private sector job creation. That’s resonating in Democratic communities and Republican communities throughout the state.”
Skelos was also asked if Storobin would still be the Republican candidate in November, even if he does not win after paper ballots are counted:
“I think he was a great candidate, that’s a decision he’s gonna have to make,” Skelos said. “It’s not going to be a decision that has to be made, because he’s going to win.”
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