Fidler’s state senate bid in traction

Brooklyn Daily

Councilman Lew Fidler is scrambling to recover from an extended hospital stay that’s turned his two-man race for disgraced state Sen. Carl Kruger’s seat into a one-man act showcasing his Republican opponent David Storobin — a political rookie who’s gaining some momentum as the March 20 special election draws near.

Fidler (D–Marine Park) hasn’t appeared in public since a severe allergic reaction to his gout medication landed him in Beth Israel Medical Center on Kings Highway on Feb. 22, leading supporters to wonder if his lengthy absence from the campaign trail will hurt the veteran lawmaker’s chances in an election where he’s enjoyed front-runner status since announcing his candidacy.

“Getting sidelined can disrupt a campaign,” said Mike Geller, who heads the Highway Democratic Club. “This is not a slam dunk for Fidler by any means. It’s going to be close.”

Fidler was still hospitalized by Monday evening and declined to speak to us when we paid him a visit. A source said he’d be out of the hospital in a few days.

His hospitalization caused Fidler to miss a debate in Manhattan Beach last week where Storobin — an attorney and vice president of the Kings County Republican Party — was given a chance to touch on everything from gay marriage to school vouchers for 90 uninterrupted minutes.

A second debate at the Flatbush Park Jewish Center on Avenue U in Mill Basin scheduled for March 1 was canceled.

Yet Fidler insists that he will be making up for lost time.

“I can’t wait for the opportunity to discuss my record and vision for the future,” Fidler said in a statement.

But he’ll have to move fast to stymie the growing support for Storobin — especially among the more conservative Orthodox Jewish and Russian voters in the Democratic but heavily right-leaning district, which stretches from Mill Basin to Brighton Beach.

In recent weeks Storobin has picked up key endorsements from prominent Jewish leaders, one of whom even wrote a letter warning his followers that voting for Fidler would break the Torah’s commandments because the councilman supports same-sex marriage.

Storobin is counting on the wave of Jewish support that helped Republican newcomer Bob Turner beat Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin (D–Queens) in a special election in 2010 to replace former Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner, who resigned in a cyber-sexting scandal.

Turner’s surprise win emboldened Republicans to back Storobin in their bid to expand the party’s base outside of Bay Ridge, where GOP leaders include state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R–Bay Ridge) and embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge), who beat Democratic incumbent Michael McMahon in 2010.

Kruger resigned in December after pleading guilty to accepting $1 million bribes.

Republicans vowed to spend up to $500,000 on Storobin’s bid for Kruger’s seat — and help push Southern Brooklyn farther to the right. That support evaporated after GOP leaders announced plans to eliminate Kruger’s district.

Storobin’s campaign has only raised $120,000 — far less than Fidler’s $405,000 — and half of Storobin’s war chest came from two sources: Storobin and Storobin’s mom, campaign records show.

Nevertheless, Storobin said his campaign has picked up steam since Fidler dropped out of the picture.

“We’re in great shape heading into the last two weeks,” Storobin said. “I feel very confident.”

Political analysts said Storobin has reason to be optimistic, since Fidler has all-but disappeared from the public eye.

“Fidler’s illness didn’t choose the best time to attack him,” said political analyst Hank Sheinkopf. “The more you get out there campaigning [the better it is] and he can’t campaign right now.”

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

Reader Feedback

Moshe from BP says:
From internal polls to signs on the ground, this race looks like it will be a Storobin blowout. Maybe not like the 66% that Turner got here, but close.
March 7, 2012, 9:51 am
David from Mill Basin says:
LEW FIDLER IS A D E M O C R O O K WHO HAS NOT YET RETURNED SOME $88,000 IN CAMPAIGN MONEY FROM 2009.
The Daily News headlined a June 12, 2011 Editorial about Fidler as "Lootin' Lew." Check it out.
That says it all.
March 7, 2012, 3:35 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
Enough with career politicians. Because of these career politicians this city, state and country has deteriorated over the decades and we keep voting back the same old same old. Let's start voting new people into the office regardless of political persuasion and stop listening to the rhetoric that these career politicians give us every time they run for reelection.
March 7, 2012, 9:01 pm
David from Mill Basin says:
To Bob from Gerritsen Beach:
Amen! I totally agree with you, and must add:.
All Incumbents OUT.
March 8, 2012, 10:35 am
Shaun from Marine Park says:
Fidler could care less what anyone says. That do nothing SOB voted for a third term with zero community support. As a matter of fact! The only one at the MPCA meeting that supported him was Kruger. Nice friends you have Fidler. I just hope that the voters in the area are sick of your lazy do nothing ass.
March 8, 2012, 8:54 pm
Ari Kagan from Brighton Beach says:
Shame on Shaun from Marine Park for that "lazy do nothing ass" comment!

Here is what U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said recently about Lew Fidler:

"Lew's a worker," Schumer said. "He's a work horse. He's a worker bee. And he doesn't have some of these highfalutin' ideals and gets lost in the stars, he works hard for the communities he represents and I'm proud to endorse Lew."
March 9, 2012, 1:27 am
Jacob G. from Coney Island Avenue says:
Chuck Schumer lives in Park Slope and Washington, D.C. Go-along-get-along Democrats like Lew Fidler and Chuck Schumer, only work for hard for the wrong things.... It has to be a measure that gives a partisan advantage to the Democrats or it has to advance the liberal social agenda that has brought our society to the abyss of an economic and moral collapse.

If the people want it more like it used to be -- to bad for the people.

A vote in favor of Fidler is a YES vote to the Obama agenda, both at home and abroad.
March 10, 2012, 1:35 pm

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