* Republican David Storobin’s lead over Democratic City Councilman Lew Fidler in the Brooklyn Senate race shrank from 119 votes to a mere 37 yesterday in the first day of absentee ballot counting at the Brooklyn Board of Elections. David Simpson, spokesman for the Russian-American Storobin, claimed Fidler repeatedly challenged ballots in Russian-American districts: “They have shifted to a tactic of ethnic exclusion, objecting to almost all of the absentee ballots from the Russian election districts and with Russian last names.” Fidler’s campaign manager, Kalman Yeger, claimed many Storobin supporters who cast absentee ballots also showed up at the polls: “We do not know the ethnicity of any voter but we do know that people who voted twice should only have one vote counted.” Tallying the remaining 500 ballots resumes today.
* Redistricting is not dead yet. Some of the plaintiffs in the case that resulted in court-drawn lines for Congress have filed amended complaints, alleging that the maps split the Orthodox Jewish community in Ramapo and black and Hispanic communities in Nassau County. They are a sort of Hail Mary pass for the offended parties, given that courts have historically defaulted to gerrymandered plans drawn by state legislatures as long as they don’t violate the Voting Rights Act. Lawyers for the Senate and Assembly must answer the complaints by April 2, at which point Magistrate Roanne Mann will hold a status conference to determine what, if any, further action is needed.
* Has peace broken out between City Councilman Dan Halloran and the Queens Tribune? During his 2009 Council campaign, the paper—founded by Rep. Gary Ackerman, who employed Halloran’s opponent Kevin Kim—spotlighted Halloran’s pagan religion in a front-page story headlined “Democratic Victor v. Pagan Lord.” Tribune editor Michael Shenkler, who said at the time there was no conflict, seems to have patched things up now that Ackerman is retiring and Halloran is running to fill the seat. Yesterday he posted on Facebook a picture of himself shaking hands with Halloran, calling him “my old friend … Dan’s got style and gumption.”
CITY & STATE FIRST READ is our morning email roundup of New York politics and government. Every day before 7 a.m. we deliver daily exclusives, a curated summary of the day’s headlines, editorials, schedules and milestones – and short tidbits like the “Heard Around Town” items above.
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Tags: absentee, assembly, ballots, brooklyn, Congress, Dan Halloran, David Simpson, David Storobin, Facebook, Gary Ackerman, Heard Around Town, Kalman Yeger, kevin kim, Lew Fidler, Michael Shenkler, Nassau County, Orthodox, pagan, Queens Tribune, Ramapo, recount, redistricting, Roanne Mann, Russan-American, Russian, Senate, Voting Rights Act
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