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The race to replace Carl Kruger

Albany officials: GOP rookie spent more on his race than he'll make in the state senate

Brooklyn Daily
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Talk about seeing red!

Republican rookie David Storobin won the closest state senate election in Brooklyn’s history last week, but his risk won’t earn him any financial rewards — he’ll be getting a truncated legislative salary that won’t even cover a $50,000 personal loan he made to his fledgling campaign, Albany officials confirmed.

Storobin beat Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) by 16 votes as the race to replace prison-bound ex-pol Carl Kruger came to a close on May 31. Once he’s sworn into office this week, he will start earning $45,300 in taxpayer dollars through December, about $4,700 less than the out-of-pocket sum he gave his campaign in January.

He won’t have an opportunity to recoup the money over time either. Kruger’s old district is poised to disappear in January — meaning that Storobin will have the shortest freshman term a healthy person not under indictment has ever had.

But Storobin shrugged off the net loss, claiming that winning was worth every penny.

“I didn’t do it for the money,” Storobin said, who admitted that he spent all of the $148,000 he raised for the special election. “The money I’ll get paid didn’t play a role in my decision to run.”

State senators normally draw an annual salary of $79,500, but Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif said Storobin will only get paid for the six months he’s in office.

Storobin could have collected a larger paycheck if his battle with Fidler didn’t drag on for two months after the March 20 special election, Reif explained.

Albany leaders divvied up Kruger’s old stomping grounds between two borough senators and a new “Super Jewish” seat encompassing Midwood, Borough Park, and Homecrest when they redistricted Brooklyn earlier this year — the district Storobin is expected to run for next.

Fidler raised more than $335,000 for the special election and still had $87,420 in his campaign account in mid-April, according to the state Board of Elections.

The seasoned legislator entered the race as the presumed frontrunner, but Storobin — the vice president of the Kings County Republican Party — sent shock waves through the borough’s political circles by emerging with a 120-vote lead on election night.

But his margin of victory shrank to just three votes after several hundred absentee ballots and affidavits were tallied, and both sides contested 300 additional ballots, delaying the outcome even further.

Fidler took a brief 87-vote lead after most of the remaining ballots were counted, but a judge ordered the city to count 119 votes that the veteran lawmaker claimed Storobin’s campaign obtained illegally — and Storobin jumped ahead again by 27 votes.

Storobin ultimately won by 16 votes on Thursday after the city finished a state-mandated hand recount.

Kruger resigned in December hours before pleading guilty to accepting nearly $1 million in bribes. He was sentenced to seven years in prison least month.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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