By YVONNE JURIS
Former City Council member Simcha Felder handily defeated Sen. Dave Storobin on Tuesday in a campaign to represent Brooklyn’s new “super Jewish” seat in the State Senate.
Felder, a Democrat who won the race by a 2 to 1 margin, said he led in every neighborhood and polling site in the district.
“Tonight might seem like a celebration of a victory,” Felder said. “But we must take a moment to reflect on the anguish of so many of our friends from across New York who are still recovering from the aftermath of the Hurricane. We pray for their recovery, and we will continue doing everything we can – as a community – to bring them every possible assistance we can offer.”
The newly formed 17th Senate District includes Borough Park and Midwood, which have a large Orthodox Jewish population, as well as parts of Flatbush, Kensington and Sunset Park. The Republican-controlled State Senate created the district, shaping it in a way that could give the GOP a new stronghold in mostly Democratic Brooklyn.
Felder, a deputy city comptroller, won an easy victory in the September Democratic primary, and also took the Conservative Party line from Storobin with a write-in vote. He is Orthodox Jewish and formerly represented Borough Park in the City Council, providing him with a strong base of support in the district.
Storobin, a Republican lawyer who migrated from Russia at the age of 12, won his seat in the Senate by defeating Council member Lewis Fidler, a Democrat, in a 2011 race. The battle was so close that the final vote count was not reached until June. The new district deprived Storobin of his strong base of support in Brighton Beach, home to many Russian immigrants.
Both Storobin and Felder have been active in the Jewish community. In 2002, Felder joined Assemblyman Dov Hikind in opposing an exhibit in The Jewish Museum that used Legos to construct a Holocaust camp.
Storobin opposed a mosque that is being built in the Sheepshead Bay area, calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to investigate it.
Felder has cultivated a close relationship with Bloomberg, with two of his chief aides working on the mayor’s re-election campaign.