A race for state Senate to replace disgraced politician Carl Kruger was locked in uncertainty Wednesday with a tiny margin of votes separating the candidates. Early returns said Republican David Storobin had a 120-vote lead over Democrat Lewis Fidler, out of more than 21,000 cast. An estimated 2,090 absentee ballots, however, have yet to be counted, the Associated Press reported. Fidler is a City Councilman. Storobin is a lawyer in private practice making his first run for public office,
The campaign mimicked in some ways last year's turbulent race to succeed Anthony Weiner in Congress, with Orthodox rabbis urging a vote for the Republican as a protest against the marriage equality law passed in New York. A mass e-mail sent by a group called Torah Values Defense, Inc., declares "We need a senator who supports Torah values," calling for a Storobin vote. It was signed by 42 rabbis. The e-mail also criticizes Councilman David Greenfield, who is Orthodox, for supporting Fidler.
The ad mentions several interpretations of legislation that Fidler supported that the rabbis consider to be pro-gay.
According to the blog Yeshiva World News, four rabbis who had been touted as supporting Storobin have declared that they did not authorize the use of their names. They were identified as Rabbi Mechel Rosenbaum, Rabbi Moshe Binsky, Rabbi Naftoli Rottenberg and Rabbi Chaim Krausz.
Both candidates are Jewish and tried to appeal to the influential Orthodox vote, particularly in advocating tuition assistance for families who send their children to parochial schools.