As of 7:30pm on Wednesday Republican David Storobin has a slight lead of 143 votes over his Democratic opponent Lew Fidler. The special election to decide who will fill the State Senate seat of the 27th District was held three months after former State Senator Carl Kruger was forced to resign after pleading guilty to charges of taking bribes.
Early on in the race observers believed that Fidler had a better chance of winning the election. Fidler is a City Councilman, and was considered a more attractive candidate in a community that is overwhelming Democratic. The fact that Republican Storobin may have won the race has other New York Senate Democrats worried.
“It’s a bad omen” said Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) “We should not have to compete for races in Brooklyn. It’s the most Democratic county in the state.”
Storobin is a lawyer, and immigrated to the United States as a child from the Soviet Union. He was able to gain much of his support from neighborhoods in Brooklyn with large Russian populations. He was also the more attractive candidate for socially conservative Orthodox Jews.
“We had an overwhelming outpouring of support in the district from rabbis in the Orthodox community to Russian immigrants who identify very strongly with David” said Storobin spokesman David Simpson.
The votes were counted with increasing worry among Democrats that Fidler might not have won the easy victory he was expecting. A few of New York City’s Democratic leaders were there in support of Fidler, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
“This is going to make us stronger tonight, because this is never going to happen again” said City Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island).
The final outcome of the vote will depend on several hundred absentee and paper ballots that will be counted next week. In the meantime both candidates are claiming victory.