ALBANY — The courting of Simcha Felder has begun now that the Brooklyn Democrat holds one of the keys to control of the state Senate.
Republican and Democratic leaders jockeying for control of the Senate have contacted aides to Senator-elect Felder, according to the Brooklyn Democrat — who can help tip the balance of power to either party.
Felder says he could side with Republicans or Democrats depending on which party will help his heavily Orthodox Jewish district more.
The former city councilman told The Post he’s looking for influence in education, economic development and finance for his district.
“I want to try to work with anyone that allows me to deliver the most to the community I represent,” he said.
“I don’t think the parties are any religion, and I don’t believe in the parties,” he said on Albany’s Talk 1300 AM radio. “I believe in trying to represent the district that elected me and the interests of that district, whether they be the Democrats, Republicans or any other party as long as it doesn’t compromise my moral or ethical values.”
Felder isn’t the only wild card as pols await recounts and absentee-ballot tallies in two upstate districts where Democratic victories could give the party a 33-30 seat edge.
The four-member Independent Democratic Conference, led by Sen. Jeff Klein of The Bronx, hasn’t tipped its hand either on whether it will align with Republicans or Democrats.
But if Republicans pick up just one of the two upstate seats, Felder could tip the balance to the GOP on his own.
Officials said there’s a possibility the tighter of the two races, in which Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk is leading Republican Assemblyman George Amedore by just 139 votes in a five-county district, could drag into next year — after the new legislative session starts.
Former Sens. Nicholas Spano (R-Yonkers) and Frank Padavan (R-Queens) weren’t certified the winners until months after their 2004 and 2008 races.
“Things are . . . probably not going to be resolved for a while,” Felder noted.
Gov. Cuomo, the titular head of the state Democratic Party, says he has no intention of getting involved in a leadership fight.
But Rev. Al Sharpton, who cancelled a meeting to discuss Senate control today with black and Latino community leaders at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem after word got out, implored all Democrats to stick with their party.
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox, meanwhile, predicted the GOP — which now holds a 33-29 edge — will maintain its working majority, arguing principled lawmakers won’t want “corrupt” and incompetent Democrats back in charge.
“All we got was tax hikes and increased spending,” Cox said of the Democratic Senate majority in 2009 and 2010 — which also produced four indicted and convicted members.
But Democrats note the troublemakers are gone and Cuomo suggested Democrats learned their lessons “the hard way” from the two-year debacle, which was marked by a coup, scandals and paralysis.
Democratic operatives argued Klein and Co. run a risk by siding with the GOP in a state that’s trending bluer and that, they claim, will inevitably produce a comfortable Democratic Senate majority.
Source: The NY Post