Local Dems Eyeing Kruger's Vacant Senate Seat
Politically speaking, the year 2011 ended on a sour note for the communities of Mill Basin, Marine Park, Mill Island, Bergen Beach, parts of Sheepshead Bay and the surrounding areas with the abdication of Carl Kruger as senator from the 27th Senatorial District. Currently the district seat is vacant but Governor Cuomo is likely to call for a special election – with a good possibility it will take place sometime in March.
Kruger resigned his post on December 20th only hours before pleading guilty to a number of corruption charges levied by prosecutors who had been investigating the longtime legislator for about four years. They charged him with abject dereliction of his duties as a state lawmaker and said he took at least $1 million in bribes. He is expected to be sentenced sometime in April and could serve anywhere from seven to 20 years in jail.
His departure leaves a contention here between Republican and Democratic forces vying for Kruger's Senate seat, with Republicans saying they have what appears to be an edge because of the election last year of Robert Turner, a Republican, to the House position formerly occupied by disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner.
However, the local areas served by Kruger are overwhelmingly Democrat and, with a concentration of forces, the tide in the state operation could be turned, especially if the popular City Councilman Lew Fidler decides he will run for the Senate seat. He has not yet officially said he will do so, but, according to a recent article in the New York Times, Fidler already has a “formidable campaign war chest.”
Assemblyman Vito Lopez, chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, was quoted as saying the upcoming contest “presents the Democratic Party and its leaders a challenge because of what previously occurred with the Turner seat.
“It's imperative,” he added, “that the …Party leaders come together in order to have a successful victory for our party and its candidate, Lew Fidler.”
There will be no primary, according to reports. The winner of the supposed March election will serve only through this year, since all the seats in the Legislature will be up for reelection.
Also, many of the districts, including Turner's Congressional district, will be redrawn as part of the Federal Census redistricting process, which takes place every ten years.