A liberal insurgent running to topple renegade New York state Sen. Simcha Felder in next week’s Democratic primary has won the endorsement of the New York Times.
The paper slammed Felder, who represents a heavily Orthodox south Brooklyn district, for tipping control of the split body to Republicans, even though he claims to be a Democrat.
“Democrats deserve to be represented by one of their own, and New Yorkers deserve a state senator who will work in their interests,” the Times wrote in a sharply worded editorial.
The Gray Lady gave its endorsement to Blake Morris, a lawyer and community activist, running as a “real Democrat” in Thursday’s primary for the seat representing swathes of Midwood and Boro Park.
Analysts say Felder is a heavy favorite, but hasn’t faced a serious challenge since winning the seat in 2012. Felder already has the Republican line locked up so even if Morris wins in the primary he would have to take on Felder in the November general election.
The Times blasted Felder for singlehandedly blocking a Democratic wish list of reform measures, including ethics rules, reproductive rights and tenants rights. It blames him for his stubborn — the paper calls it “odd” — opposition to a tax on plastic bags and speed cameras outside schools.
Most notoriously, the paper says, Felder was able to hold up the entire state budget to wring concessions to weaken state oversight of yeshivas out of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic leaders.
Felder’s leverage grew exponentially when a similar faction of turncoat Democrats returned to the fold in the spring, leaving him the deciding vote in the otherwise evenly divided senate. Democrats are confident they can defeat several GOP senators in November, which would give them a majority whether Felder wins or not.
Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner
Simcha Felder’s Opponent Wins New York Times Nod In Brooklyn Senate Fight