The insurgent challenging rogue Democrat Simcha Felder says he is counting on support from “secret” Orthodox voters to make the difference in a heated Brooklyn state senate primary battle.
Blake Morris, who is a secular Jew, says he has met up to 100 Orthodox voters who are fed up with Felder, who is running for the Democratic nomination but caucuses with Republicans.
“They don’t want their neighbors to know that they’re interested in doing something differently than the community,” Morris told Gothamist.
Morris is running as a “true blue real Democrat” and touts his progressive stands on health care, gun control, gay rights, and marijuana legalization, among others.
He says Orthodox voters are as concerned as anyone else about access to affordable housing and health care, giving him an opening to push opposition to Felder.
Felder is famous — or infamous — for holding the balance of power in the otherwise evenly divided state Senate, the only branch of state government that the GOP holds.
But he is locally known more for pushing to keep the state from tougher standards on yeshivas, and also his idiosyncratic opposition to speed cameras and other traffic calming measures.
Felder is counting on near unanimous support from Orthodox voters in the district, which was gerrymandered to encompass Orthodox voters in Boro Park and Midwood.
Morris hopes to peel off some Felder loyalist, while tapping into anger at his GOP-friendly stance among the secular and non-Jewish voters.
“He’s using the Orthodox as a front,” Felder told Gothamist. “Felder is just using Orthodox community as a fig leaf for [the Republicans].”
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 Challenger Hopes To Ride ‘Secret’ Orthodox Opposition To Victory