January 26, 2012
By Bendix Anderson, LaborPress Senior Editor
Downstairs at the Woolworth Building, in the back barroom of The Kitchen restaurant, a few dozen labor advocates, elected officials and political campaign workers gathered January 19 to raise money for the campaign of Lewis Fidler for New York State Senator.
“He’s an effective City Councilman who will be an effective Senator,” said Steven Cymbrowitz, New York State Assemblyman (D-45th District).
Tickets started at $250 and rose to $1,000 “sponsors” of the event, hosted by State Assemblyman Pete J. Abbate on behalf of “Lew Fidler for New York.” Labor activists including more than half a dozen representatives from the United Federation of Teachers enjoyed the open bar and convivial atmosphere.
The special election for New York State Senate in the 27th District is just a few weeks away. On March 20, South Brooklyn voters from Midwood to Sheepshead Bay will choose the replacement for Senator Carl Kruger, who resigned in disgrace after pleading guilty to bribery in December.
Union support will be a big boost for Fidler. In past elections, UFT volunteers made tens of thousands of phone calls to potential voters from their headquarters in Lower Manhattan. “Turnout is very important in a Special Election,” said Rich Mantell, UFT Representative for District 19. “We tell our members to get out and vote.”
Fidler’s Republican opponent for the Senate seat will be the current vice-chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, David Storobin, a lawyer who reportedly held one of the first meetings of Brooklyn Tea Party activists in his office. Normally Brooklyn Democrats wouldn’t think twice about a Republican challenger on their home turf — where likely voters are overwhelmingly registered Democrats. But the surprise victory last year of a Republican candidate for the Congressional seat left open by Rep. Andrew Weiner has given the Republicans hope and enthusiasm for the race.
“On March 20, we need to draw a line in the sand,” said Fidler. “If I loose, they are coming for all of my colleagues.”