Heating Up, Brooklyn Assembly Race at Finish Line

BROOKLYN -

Facing the toughest reelection of his 32-year career, Assemblyman Dov Hikind racked up a series of high-profile endorsements ahead of Tuesday’s election. Hikind, who is running on the Democrat and Conservative party lines, received backing from an array of mosdos’ representatives on Sunday, who in their personal capacity signed a letter to send home to talmidim.

Republican Nachman Caller received a boost for his housing plan from a  prominent city councilman.

The letter that was sent home with the students, which was signed by 44 activists, urged voters to show hakaras hatov to Hikind.

Letters signed by leading askanim of Satmar and Rachmastrivka also appeared at their respective batei medrash, urging support for Hikind.

Hikind on Motzoei Shabbos rolled out high-profile endorsements from former New York Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Al D’Amato and Rep. Bob Turner, all of whom are Republicans.

Hikind, Pataki said in a statement, “has been a stalwart champion for his constituents.” “Party labels have never been as important to Dov Hikind as serving his constituents,” Turner said. “No matter what your party, you will continue to be well served by keeping Dov Hikind on the job.”

Hikind crossed party lines in 1994 to endorse the then-little known Pataki for governor, and in 2011 threw his backing behind Turner, who won a heavily Democratic district in an upset.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday called Hikind a “hero of mine,” and Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on Hikind’s Motzoei Shabbos radio show to wish him well.

Meanwhile, Caller received backing for his plan to create 2,000 housing units from Councilman David Greenfield, who chairs the Council’s Land Use Committee. The Brooklyn Democrat said he discussed building on MTA land with transit officials and was convinced it could be done.

A real-estate attorney, Caller is challenging Hikind with a promise to build housing units over the MTA tracks adjacent to 61st Street in Boro Park. The plan has been evaluated and rejected many times in the past. Greenfield said that it was “the best and most thoughtful I have seen since I have been in office.”

Greenfield said that he has over the past few weeks “thoroughly vetted” the rail yard plan, discussing it with MTA leadership and housing experts, and has concluded that it can work.

“As soon as the MTA finds a partner to develop these rail yards, I will work to change the zoning to allow building as many as 2,000 housing units,” he said. “With those assurances, the MTA can move forward knowing that they will have the support they need in the Land Use Committee to make this plan a reality.”

The election is on Tuesday.