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The race for the 'Super Jewish' district

Felder running as a Democrat, but considers himself a 'free agent'

Brooklyn Daily
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Simcha Felder is running for Midwood’s new state senate seat, but the former Borough Park councilman-turned deputy comptroller says there’s nothing super about it.

“Calling it a majority Jewish disrict is correct, but a ‘super Jewish’ district is something for the comic books,” Felder said, regarding the nickname for the new political area that will include Borough Park, Ditmas Park, Kensington, and Homecrest.

Albany re-mapped Brooklyn’s political landscape to include the new district — which political watchdogs call a super Jewish district because it will oversee right-leaning Orthodox Jews who tend to vote Republican.

But Felder, who is running as a Democrat but considers himself a political free agent — and hasn’t decided if he will caucus with Democrats or Republicans, who currently control the state senate, if he makes it to Albany — say these insiders couldn’t be more incorrect.

“It is a myth,” he said. “The Orthodox community has a history of voting for candidates they feel will be most helpful in delivering resources and services to their community. The political party is irrelevant.”

So far, Felder is running unopposed in the September Democratic primary, and he says he wants to keep it that way.

“I’m hoping, with god’s help, that I don’t have an opponent,” he said. “But anybody who runs for office has to assume that they will have an opponent and I’m prepared for that.”

If he wins the primary, Felder will most likely have a Republican challenger. Real estate attorney Nachman Caller said he would run for the new seat and some political watchdogs say attorney David Storobin would run for the new seat if he loses his never-ending race to replace prison-bound ex-pol Carl Kruger. Storobin’s March 20 special election against Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) is currently languishing into its third month.

If elected, Felder said he wants to secure tax credits for families who send their kids to Yeshivas and other private schools.

Felder may not be sure who he’ll side with once he gets to Albany, but says he identifies with the Democratic cause.

“Running as a Democrat is a means towards winning this senate seat,” he said. “But ultimately whatever party is in the majority at that point is who I will work with, because that’s what I’m going to have to do to — I won’t say bring home the bacon — but bring home the pastrami.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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