Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler is in a heated battle for an open state Senate seat in a special election three weeks from now – but two sources very close to Fidler say he has his sights on possibly running against Republican Sen. Marty Golden in a different district this fall.
Fidler, a Democrat, is challenging Republican David Storobin in the March 20 special election for the Brooklyn seat previously held by convicted Democratic Sen. Carl Kruger.
Yet Albany Republicans’ plan to redraw district lines would put Fidler’s home in the same district as Senate Democratic leader John Sampson, while also creating a so-called “Super-Jewish” district containing Borough Park and other Orthodox strongholds.
Fidler’s campaign has said that if he wins a Senate seat next month, he would move into the Super-Jewish district. But sources said Fidler is now in serious conversations with close confidantes about taking on Golden, one of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in New York City.
“With the new lines, I think he could very well choose to run against Marty Golden,” said one close Fidler confidant, who has been speaking about the possibility with Fidler. “It’s a very likely scenario.”
Because it’s a redistricting year, Fidler would not have to live in Golden’s district to run against him.
The rationale would be that much of Fidler’s current Council district, including the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Mill Basin and Marine Park, is in Golden’s proposed new Senate district. Meanwhile, much of the Orthodox Jewish community, which has reliably voted for Golden, has been removed from his new district.
The Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish community has been increasingly voting Republican – and has been building ties with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos – making a run in the “Super-Jewish” district difficult for a Democrat. It would be even more difficult if Republicans come up with a top-tier candidate like former Councilman Simcha Felder, an Orthodox Jew.
On the other hand, Senate lines could change dramatically as the redistricting process plays out in the courts, and Republicans could end up with a weak candidate. With all the open questions, another source close to Fidler said a Golden challenge was a real possibility but too early to count on.
“It depends on how the lines are cut, but he’s absolutely running for re-election to a Senate seat,” said the source. “He’s not going to give up a Council seat and take a $30,000-a-year pay cut for the honorary privilege of serving out Carl Kruger’s term, so he can retire. There’s no question he’s fighting for a Senate seat. The question is where.”
Running against Golden would come with complications. The Senate Democrats are already running 26-year-old Andrew Gounardes against Golden, who has emerged as one of their top targets this year. And Golden is an entrenched incumbent with a large war chest.
“There’s no one factor that will determine this either way,” the second source said. “You make a chart and put a plus sign on one side, or a plus sign on the other side, and you figure it out.”
Golden and Gounardes’ campaigns did not return requests for comment.
Read more coverage of the March special election:
Senate debate organizer says he never contacted Fidler – Feb. 27, 2012
Storobin pressures Fidler on school vouchers – Feb. 21, 2012
Ed Koch robos for Fidler – Feb. 9, 2012
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