Two Orthodox Jewish sources with direct knowledge of ex-Councilman Simcha Felder’s thinking say he will caucus with the Senate Democrats if he wins election this fall in Brooklyn’s so-called “Super Jewish” district.
That represents a major turnaround in fortune for the Senate Democrats, who looked to have an uphill battle in the heavily Orthodox district, when Councilman Lew Fidler performed poorly among the socially conservative community in his Mar. 20 special election in an overlapping district. Felder has already said he’s running on the Democrats’ ballot line.
It’s also a loss for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who courted favor with major social service groups like Agudath Israel to try and win the Super Jewish seat.
But the good news for Democrats comes with a caveat. If Felder somehow ended up being the deciding vote in swinging Senate leadership, he has told people he will likely vote for Skelos over Democratic Minority Leader John Sampson. Still, that may not be a problem anytime soon, even though the chamber is divided 32-30, since the four-member Independent Democratic Conference does not look likely to rejoin the Democratic fold. And it’s also not that surprising, given that Felder is a moderate Democrat.
Felder himself just texted Liz Benjamin to say that he would caucus with “anyone that will help the district and New Yorkers most.”
I ran this information by Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif, who did not confirm or denying my sources’ information, but said the GOP’s focus was on “completing the count in the still undetermined Storobin/Fidler race.”
Ironically, Lew Filder’s poor performance in the Mar. 20 special election ended up helping the Democrats, clearing the way for Felder to run on the party’s line.
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