Big Apple Politics

Williamsburg Askan Coy About Council Run

Isaac Abraham, a Williamsburg askan and businessman who lost narrowly to Councilman Steve Levin in 2008, told Hamodia he was “considering” a primary challenge to Levin.

Abraham said that during a meeting with friends on Thursday to decide whom to endorse in mayoral and local races, a friend “suggested” the idea but he was in no rush to decide.

“Close to the end of the dinner,” Abraham said, “someone asked the question, ‘Now, Isaac, it’s not seven candidates, its only Steve Levin, maybe it is worth thinking about it?’”

Abraham said that it was “an exploratory committee” among friends who had supported him in previous political races and was supposed to have been private.

Though he says he hadn’t made a decision yet, he sounded like a candidate when discussing Levin.

“It’s not a question of what the councilman has done, it’s a question of what he hasn’t done,” he said.

Abraham said he was disappointed in Levin for not meeting with communities who did not vote for him.

Democratic district leader Lincoln Restler had been expected to put up a strong fight against Levin, but he announced last week that he would not run after the new redistricting map gave Levin heavy odds of winning.

Storobin Inches Closer to Council Run

David Storobin, the Russian-born attorney who delivered a stunning victory for the Republican party when he won last year’s state senate race in Flatbush, appears closer to declaring his candidacy to replace the term-limited Councilman Mike Nelson in Flatbush.

Storobin lost the Conservative nod during his losing reelection battle to current state Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn).

But he told Politicker that “no announcement is on the horizon.”

Storobin, a 34-year-old Republican, would face in November the winner of the Democratic primary, in which Chaim Deutsch, Ari Goldman and four others are vying for the Russian-majority district.

Liu Says Little Differentiates the Mayoral Candidates

There is little substantive difference between the Democrats running to replace Michael Bloomberg, City Comptroller John Liu said on Sunday, hours after declaring his own candidacy, DNAinfo.com reported.

“We’re all liberal Democrats. There’s not going to be that much contrast,” Liu said. “You know, we’re not going to be all that different on housing, on education. There might be some slight nuances here and there. Are voters really going to get all the different nuances?”

Liu said that he first thought of running for mayor, “probably from the moment I got elected comptroller.”

Liu claimed that The New York Times, who has extensively written on campaign finance fraud among his aides, was being fed information by the U.S. attorney.

Liu has not been accused of any wrongdoing personally but with pending trials against his former campaign treasurer, Jenny Hou, and a campaign donor, Oliver Pan, political reporters have counted him out as a credible contender.

The first article on Liu, on Oct. 12, 2011, “it looked like the Times story was driving this investigation,” he said. But since then, “it seems like actually no, it’s been the other way around. The feds have been driving the stories in the New York Times.”

Both the U.S. attorney’s office and David Chen, the Times reporter who wrote much of the series on Liu, declined to address the claim.

Staten Island Dems Choose Orthodox Jew for Council Run

Staten Island’s Democratic establishment announced Monday that they are backing Mendy Mirocznik, an Orthodox Jewish attorney, to replace the term-limited Councilman James Oddo, a Republican.

“We’re seeing fewer education dollars, less transportation options, deteriorating roads and there seems to be no relief in sight,” Mirocznik said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “…We need an advocate who will reverse this trend and bring real results for mid-Islanders, and I believe I can do that.”

Mirocznik, a Chaim Berlin alum who serves as the president of the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island, faces a tough primary race against John Mancuso, who announced his candidacy last week.

On the Republican end, Oddo, who chairs the tiny four-member GOP caucus in the overwhelmingly Democratic body, strongly supporting his chief of staff, Steve Matteo, while other party officials want the local Republican vice chair Lisa Giovinazzo to run.

Orthodox Runner-up in Council Race May Be Hired by Winner

Councilman Donovan Richards, who bested Pesach Osina in last month’s special election by 71 votes, said he will likely hire the runner-up for his staff.

“It’s an interesting time, you know, sort of like Barack and Hillary,” Richards, who now represents southeast Queens and Far Rockaway, told Politicker. “We heal quick. You know, I think Pesach would certainly be a great addition to my team. He will help unite the community and he’ll be a great asset. Don’t be surprised if he’s hired next week.”

Osina, an Orthodox Jewish aide to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, benefited from heavy turnout in Jewish areas to come within a whisker of defeating Richards in the 75 percent black district. The racially tinged election was eased when Richards, who is black, congratulated Osina the day after Richards was declared the winner.

NY Muslims Set Up Their First Mayoral PAC

A group of Muslims are seeking to influence November’s hotly contested mayoral club by establishing the Muslim Democratic Club of New York, Politicker reported. The PAC is particularly upset at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial Muslim surveillance efforts.

“The mayor has been a problem for this community,” Ali Najmi, a club leader, said. “We want to send a message to City Hall that the next mayor needs to treat us differently.”

During the club’s first meeting last Thursday, Najmi showed a presentation on the voting strength of the growing Muslim population in the city. They estimate that there are 105,000 registered Muslim voters in New York City, mostly in Queens. Seventy percent of them Democrats.

Democratic mayoral candidates John Liu and Sal Albanese addressed the club, as well as the city’s only Muslim elected official, Councilman Robert Jackson, who is running for Manhattan borough president.

The club is also pushing for the inclusion of Muslim holidays in the public school calendar, an issue that Bloomberg has opposed since there are so few school days already. They promise not to focus on foreign policy issues.

Christie Would Do Very Well Against Cuomo — in NY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo would beat New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by single digits among New York state voters in a 2016 presidential matchup, according to a new Quinnipiac University survey released this week.

Cuomo, a Democrat, beats Republican Christie by 46-38 percent overall, but Christie would defeat Cuomo among upstate voters 41-35 percent, and New York City suburbs by 49-39.

Cuomo’s only advantage is in the city, where he would win 61-27. The poll also found that for the first time Cuomo’s job approval rating among Republicans was underwater, with only 38 percent of GOP voters approving, compared with 49 percent who do not.

Carrión Loses GOP Support on His Home Turf

Bronx GOP chair Jay Savino joined the other borough chairs in endorsing Joe Lhota for mayor, seemingly shutting the GOP line to Adolfo Carrión, a former Bronx borough president.

“After an open and honest exchange, it was our conclusion that Joe Lhota is the most qualified candidate in this race,” Savino said. “His proven leadership, in and outside of government, is exactly what New York City needs.”

Savino had previously said he would support Carrión, who is running on the Independence line but had hoped to get the GOP line as well. Since Carrión is registered as an independent, he needs the backing of three GOP county leaders to run in the Republican primary.