It’s something of a tradition for YWN to proclaim the winners and losers the day after the election. So after a morning full of recommendations (and there were many) on who should be on today’s list, please find below our analysis of yesterday’s election. Of course, we won’t cite the obvious like winner Bob Turner or loser David Weprin. And if you have your own suggestions, we encourage you to add them in the comment section of this article.
The Flatbush askan does it again. Sure, everyone and their mother endorsed Turner once the polls showed him ahead two WEEKS ago. Chaskel took a big chance as the first Orthodox Jewish backer of Turner two MONTHS ago and won big. His dreams of one day being an elected official himself might soon be realized. Chaskel is now the front-runner for the Republican nomination for the new Senate seat that will likely be carved out for the Jewish community in Brooklyn in next year’s redistricting.
The Brooklyn Democratic leader had a great night. His hand-picked candidates for New York State Assembly (Raphael Espinal) and Civil Court Judge (Sharon Hudson) beat out fierce challenges. The only race that he lost was Weprin’s – where his candidate got creamed in Southern Brooklyn. That’s no surprise. Everyone knows that Lopez is the undisputed leader of Northern Brooklyn. Southern Brooklyn, however, is a free-for-all of mini fiefdoms.
Despite a damning video that YWN exposed on election day showing Goldfeder refusing to oppose gay marriage, the Orthodox Jewish Goldfeder eked out a victory. True it was the smallest margin of victory of any Assembly candidate in the state. True he didn’t get as many votes out of Far Rockway as he would have liked. Also true that he needed a lot of help from the likes of Speaker Shelly Silver to win and now owes Shelly his allegiance. But a win, is a win, is a win.
Few people remember, but Brooklyn’s Conservative party backed Turner first. That move all but forced the Republicans (who were still interviewing candidates at the time) to go along with their pick. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because they did the same exact thing last year when they boxed the Staten Island Republican party into supporting now-Congressman Mike Grimm. The party has solidified itself as the only true voice of conservatism (yeah, that’s a swipe at Republicans) and the counter-balance to the liberal Working Family Parties in New York State. What’s more, because of their strategic alliances they even had a good night with Democrats. They not only backed Republican Turner but also backed successful Democratic Assembly candidate Raphael Espinal giving them a new Democratic ally in the most liberal of places: the New York State Assembly.
Initial reports indicate that the Orthodox Jewish community provided as much as 20% of the vote in yesterday’s race for Congress and the clear bulk of that went to Republican Bob Turner. The message is unmistakable – Orthodox Jews are mad at Obama and sick and tired of flip-flopping politicians (see David Weprin on gay marriage). As important, the Orthodox Jewish community now counts a record five members of the New York State Assembly (all Democrats). In order of political philosophy (right to left): Dov Hikind, Mike Simanowitz, Phil Goldfeder, David Weprin and Shelly Silver. Of course, it’ll be interesting to see how this new group gets along.
When it got hot Richard Altabe did not leave the kitchen, but he did take off the gloves. The questions were swirling about Phil Goldfeder’s tenuous position on same-gender marriage, yet the Far Rockaway askan fought back with a full-throated defense of Goldfeder and delivered a large amount of votes for his favorite son. No question about this: Richard Altabe is the leading askan in Far Rockaway.
So you want to run for office? Well your going to need lots of money and the right person to help you raise, spend and manage that cash. That can only mean one thing: you need a powerhouse treasurer. Armed with a new job as the Director of Administration & Government Relations for Otsar, in his spare time Leb is the go to guy for young Orthodox Jews looking for financial wizadry. Last year Leb was the treasurer for David Greenfield’s Council campaign and this year he was the treasurer for Phil Goldfeder’s Assembly campaign. Leb is no slouch himself. The former Chief of Staff (and treasurer, of course) to Councilman Jim Genarro was recently elected in a landslide to the Five Towns Library Board.
Can you hear them now? The district with the largest Jewish population in America sends a resounding message to Obama: we’re mad as heck, and we’re not going to take it anymore! Never before has an American President been so unsupportive of Israel and never before has the Jewish community so publicly upbraided a President. Despite the Democrats best attempt to spin this, the reality is that Orthodox Jews only make up 12% of the Congressional district (although they likely turned out in higher numbers). The rest of the Jewish population in the 9th is representative of Jews across the country. Mr. President, ever hear of a nice Jewish place called Florida?
Shimmy was the Chaskel Bennett of David Weprin’s campaign. The assisted-living mogul was the first Orthodox Jew to support Weprin and spent a lot of time, money and clout trying to line up Jewish support for Weprin. Unfortunately for Shimmy, his efforts were for naught. Weprin lost big and even bigger in the Orthodox community. Shimmy’s decades-long role as the go-to guy in the Queens Orthodox community may be coming to an end.
Joe may want to watch his political back. The Queens Democratic leader hand-picked David Weprin to run for this Congressional seat. Critics cried nepotism. After all, Weprin’s main claim to fame is that his father was the former Assembly speaker from Queens. Crowley didn’t care. He was more worried about a strong Democrat taking him on next year when this house seat is likely to got redistricted. Well, now he has to worry about a strong Republican. Bob Turner has vowed to run again even if he gets redistricted out of his seat.
There was a time in New York City when you couldn’t get Orthodox votes without the support of this smart hasidic political strategist. Those days ended long ago with the loss of Mark Green for Mayor. Friedlander worked over time, even dispatching his trusted aide – Dovid Lobel – to fight hard for Weprin. Sadly for The Friedlander Group, they no longer matter in political races. Good thing Friedlander has a robust event planning business. The invitation for the Agudath Israel breakfast that he manages already went out this morning.
Asher Taub likes to remind everyone that he was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress. He also likes to remind everyone that he supported Republican Bob Tuner before he switched to become a vocal supporter of Democrat David Weprin. Don’t worry, Asher, the Republicans won’t soon forget.
The Jewish Press
No, not the Jewish press (small “p”). They did a masterful job of reflecting the temperature of the Orthodox Jewish community and newer publications like Yated, Hamodia and on-line publications like YWN led the way in expressing the anger the community had towards Weprin. We speak of The Jewish Press weekly newspaper (big “P”). You may not remember this, but there was once a time when The Jewish Press actually mattered. No more. They were the only Orthodox Jewish publication to support David Weprin for Congress, proving once again that they are more loyal to the”establishment” than their Orthodox Jewish readers.
The Parkside Group
It takes considerable political talent to take a seat that is an easy win and manage it into a colossal loss. Parkside appears to possess such talent. The famed Queens political group is suffering it’s second Congressional setback in a row (last year they blew Mike McMahon’s race for Congress). Not only did Parkside write off the Orthodox Jewish vote, they wrote off the Russian Jewish vote as well. Rumor has it that Parkside owner Evan Stavitsky used this race as a way to get revenge on Russian media-mogul Gregory Davidson by freezing him out because Davidson backed a strong opponent to Evan’s mom – Senator Toby Stavistsky last year. You sure showed him Evan!
(Dov Gordon – YWN)