Councilman Mike Nelson’s district was controversially reshaped during this year’s redistricting process to contain a higher percentage of Russian-American constituents, and that change is clearly shaking up the race to replace him. Previously, District Leader Ari Kagan was one of the only candidates openly campaigning for the seat, but now a bevy of additional hopefuls are poised to join him.
“The lines look good! The lines look good!” attorney Igor Oberman, who temporarily ran against the then-powerful, now-incarcerated State Senator Carl Kruger before withdrawing his campaign, told Politicker. “I haven’t made any decision but I can say every morning, the lines get louder and louder.”
Meanwhile, another Russian-American attorney, Michael Treybich, has switched his candidacy from Coney Island Councilman Domenic Recchia’s district to Mr. Nelson’s–including on his campaign website. He said this afternoon that unless the district lines change again, he’s officially moved over. Previously, Mr. Treybich expressed loud frustration over the redistricting process.
The growing list doesn’t stop there. Theresa Scavo, the chair of Community Board 15, also said she’s “definitely” running for the Council herself.
“I see a lot of neglect in the community,” she told Politicker, vowing to put a lot of work into changing things around.
Chaim Deutsch, a Nelson staffer and the founder of Flatbush Shomrim, is another potential addition to the race. For his part, Mr. Deutsch said he was seriously considering a bid but was waiting to see if the City Council approves the final lines as expected. Although elements of the Orthodox Jewish community strongly opposed the way Mr. Nelson’s seat was redistricted, multiple new Russian-speaking candidates could theoretically split the Russian vote to Mr. Deutsch’s benefit.
As Russians and Orthodox Jews are also some of the most politically conservative communities in New York City, Mr. Nelson’s seat may very well contain one of the few competitive races come November, especially if former State Senator David Storobin also joins the race on the GOP side of the aisle.
Additional reporting by Ross Barkan.