Ben Akselrod May Challenge Steve Cymbrowitz in The Democratic Primary

Ben Akselrod, left, standing with the Met Council's Willie Rapfogel (photo:

Democratic Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz may face a primary challenge from Ben Akselrod, multiple tipsters told The Politicker. Mr. Akselrod, they indicated, might even earn the support of Brooklyn Democratic leader Vito Lopez in his endeavor.

Mr. Akselrod, a politically active local who’s been involved in multiple Jewish community organizations, could have additional appeal in the district’s large Russian-speaking population that is growing into a powerful political force in southeastern Brooklyn.

Mr. Cymbrowitz hung onto a narrow victory in 2010 despite facing a candidate who spent only $600, and developments since have suggested his district has only gotten more friendly to the GOP. His seat was at the Republican epicenter of two recent special elections: Congressman Bob Turner’s upset win in 2011 and David Storobin’s surprisingly strong finish in a too-close-to-call State Senate election last month.

So, undoubtedly, this election will be a close one come November, but some Democrats have mused a Russian-speaking candidate like Mr. Akselrod could strengthen their position. On the other hand, taking out an incumbent in a Democratic primary is never a simple task.

Mr. Akselrod should enjoy the backing of influential Russian-language media mogul and power broker Gregory Davidzon. Mr. Davidzon told us he’s waiting to see an official announcement from Ms. Akselrod and the final verdict on redistricting in the area before he makes an official endorsement. However, he anticipates he will give Mr. Akselrod his support.

“I think so, yes,” Mr. Davidzon said when we asked if he planned to support Mr. Akselrod’s candidacy. “I still hope the court will keep the district where most of the Russians live the same as it is now. There’s so many things we don’t know yet. I hear that he’s going to run, but it’s too early to say.”

Calls seeking comment from Mr. Cymbrowitz and Mr. Akselrod were not returned. Ben Akselrod May Challenge Steve Cymbrowitz in The Democratic Primary