The NY Post reports: Simcha Felder, running for a hotly contested state Senate seat against Republican incumbent David Storobin, is hammering out a deal to caucus with the GOP if elected, insiders said.
“He will go to the highest bidder – which is ironic because he is running for Carl Kruger’s seat,” said an Albany insider, referring to the former lawmaker now in prison for corruption.
If elected, Felder, 53, ” will be in the driver’s seat,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “Should he win, he’ll be a senator in a very unique position. Both sides will want him, but on most issues, only one side will have him – and that will be the Republicans.”
The GOP holds a slim 33-29 hold on the Senate majority, and is expected to retain seats it already holds – and perhaps pick up Sen. Joe Addabbo’s (D-Ozone Park) seat in Queens, Sheinkopf said.
“But things change from one week to the next,” he cautioned.
How it all plays out will determine if Felder pulls a Kruger, who in 2009 joined two other Dems in refusing to support their party’s choice for majority leader – instead seeking ‘concessions’ that included plum committee chairmanships.
Felder refused to discuss his future party allegiance, but his campaign manager, O’Brien Murray, supplied The Post with a list of committees that “interest” his boss: Commerce Economic Development and Small Business; Education, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities; and Social Services.
“I will caucus with the party that delivers most for the people I am elected to represent,” Felder said in a statement from Murray, himself a GOP consultant who last worked on Republican Rep. Bob Turner’s successful congressional campaign.
Felder’s party-crashing isn’t exactly the elephant in a room.
Republican sources told The Post that the former three time City Councilman – a Bloomberg-backer who recently “liked” Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick Paul Ryan on Facebook – said Felder’s always had a red streak.
“This has been underway for awhile,” said a top borough Republican. “He will be voting with the Republicans – and either way, we win. But Simcha’s going to fit in pretty well.”
The district in question is the newly carved out “Super Jewish” District 17 includes conservative and heavily Orthodox Jewish Borough Park and Flatbush.
Felder made a failed bid for state Senate in 2008, and works as one of Comptroller John Liu’s deputies. His Senate campaign coffers far exceed that of Storobin, $364,000 to $41,000, state records show.
“The real scam is with the political deals that were being made by Mr. Felder and certain Republican Party officials,” said Ezra Glaser, Storobin’s attorney. “This type of deal-making and quid pro quo is exactly why this political process is broken, and why voters cannot stomach politicians that will sell to the highest bidder, like Mr. Felder.”
Murray said he has not been part of any discussions between Felder and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who did not return calls for comment.
“We just discuss winning right now,” Murray said.
Source: THE NEW YORK POST