There is word today that that rarest of breeds, a Jewish Republican, could soon emerge from New York’s political turmoil, and in Brooklyn no less.
The Daily News’ Reuven Blau breaks the news that the city’s deputy comptroller, Simcha Felder, left, (formerly a Brooklyn City Councilman) may jump from the sinking ship of Comptroller John Liu’s camp to have another go at elected office.
State Senate Majority Leader Den Skelos has in mind to carve out a “super Jewish” Senate district tailor-made for Felder, Blau reports, and the Democrat is thinking it over.
Felder took an unsuccessful shot at unseating Senator Kevin Parker in a 2008 Democrat primary.
More recently, Jews in Flatbush have been lobbying redistricting honchos for such a super district (or two) that would unite segments now represented by six different senators, making the heavily Orthodox Jewish community there a major force to be reckoned with to anyone seeking that Senate seat (though arguably weakening the community’s influence in the surrounding districts.)
Felder would be a good fit for the new district with a well-known name, having represented Borough Park and part of Flatbush from 2002 to 2009, when he resigned to take the Liu job. He’d also be a good fit for the Republicans, with his conservative social positions and a menschy manner that made it easy to reach across district, ethnic and party lines.
It remains to be seen, of course, if the Democrats on the redistricting panel will want to take a chance on creating such a super Jewish district in an Orthodox area given Republican Bob Turner's upset victory last summer, which shows increasing Jewish appeal for the GOP.
Liu, of course, was considered a major contender for mayor until he became a major contender for the Irony in Politics award as a comptroller with sloppy (and possibly criminal) campaign bookkeeping and fundraising; right up there with the treasury secretary who didn’t pay taxes.
Jewish Republicans nationwide are all but on the endangered species list, but there is a history of them in New York. See Javitz, Jacob; Gilman, Ben; Goodman, Roy and Straniere, Robert.
Feel free to remind me of others below.