Indecision in the 27th, and why it matters
Mar 26, 2012 | 13103 views | 0 0 comments | 363 363 recommendations | email to a friend | print
At the time of writing this, the race in Brooklyn's 27th State Senate district between Democrat Lew Fidler and Republican David Storobin is too close to call, with Storobin ahead with 118 votes. It is a special election, so 118 votes can be a lot.

The district will be cut up next year, but the fact that this race is so close is a good sign that political machines are not always well oiled. The 27th District, like so many in the city, has a huge registration advantage for the Democrats.

In my own research, I have found that when minority party candidates win in special elections, many times they go on to be re-elected in those same districts where they are politically outnumbered. We saw this with City Councilman Eric Ulrich in Queens.

Ulrich’s district is heavily Democratic, yet he has managed to build comfortable support since winning his special election. Why is this important? If Storobin is officially declared the winner over Fidler, there is reason to think that in normal circumstances (meaning in a non-redistricting year) he may have proved himself to the district regardless of the party breakdown.

Storobin’s story is the kind of narrative that cannot be pinned to the typical GOP stereotype. He came here with his mother from Russia when that government was in transition.

Even if Storobin wins and goes on to be re-districted out of a job, he would have this victory to his credit. This may not seem like a big deal, but Republicans never get groomed for elective office, which is why they rarely win in the city.

If Storobin captures this seat, he gets around that speed bump by building his own political capital. Should he lose the race, he has still come very close in what is a tough district.

Storobin has published some bold views on international policy that have been open to some criticism, but that did not seem to be a big issue in this campaign. Fidler, by picking up the often sought-after endorsement of Ed Koch, made a big gain as well.

The NFL and Congress

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell handed down suspensions and penalties to the coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints due to their policy of encouraging their defense to injure opposing players by offering rewards.

Professional sports have been going down this road for some time now, mixing actual sportsmanship with the easy to sell macho (insert expletive) that is now changing sports. Some say that the Saints are being singled out and that there was no official policy to hurt other players.

We love the toughness of the NFL and football fans want to see a tough defensive line be effective, but to set out to injure a person is a different ball game. Good for Goodell for taking a tough stance on this.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has mentioned a congressional investigation into this practice. This is not the business of Congress. The situation has been dealt with appropriately by the league.

While it is true that purposely trying to injure someone else (with the exception of boxing and MMA fighting) is illegal inside or outside a stadium, the league has managed to investigate and punish the Saints in a much quicker manner than Congress ever has with their own wayward colleagues.

Until it is a legal matter, it is really only a league matter. Goodell was right to come down hard on New Orleans for this, and Dick Durbin needs to put his sights on more important things.
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