After Brief Senate Career, Russian-Speaking Pol Aims For City Council


He served just 11 days in Albany, and spent much of his brief term as a state senator struggling to help constituents recover from Superstorm Sandy before falling victim to redistricting.

Now, David Storobin is jumping back into politics in a run for City Hall. Born in Belarus, the Republican prevailed in an extremely tight Brooklyn race last year to succeed imprisoned Sen. Carl Kruger -– after months of counting and unproven allegations of voter fraud. But Kruger’s district was split in five in last year’s reapportionment process.

After losing the race for a “super-Jewish” Senate district to former Councilman Simcha Felder, Storobin now wants to succeed Councilman Michael Nelson of the 48th District, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Midwood and Sheepshead Bay and can’t run again because of term limits.

Because his race against Democrat Lew Fidler went on so long, Storobin didn’t serve in Albany long enough to get any committee assignments before the session ended but struggled to make his mark, putting his name on 42 bills, including about a dozen of which he was the primary sponsor. One of those, requiring ballots to be printed in Russian, passed both houses but was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Storobin, who was elected with heavy support from Russian-speaking Jews, will face one of five Democrats vying for the nomination for the Council seat. There is a three out of five chance that that candidate will also be a Russian-speaking immigrant.

“A lot of people have been reaching out to me from the Russian population who don’t really know a lot of local politicians, even though the district office is closed,” said Storobin, who returned to his law practice after leaving office.

“After the end of the [2012 legislative] session I spent the next seven months providing district services, particularly after Sandy beat up my district perhaps more than any other.”

On Monday Storobin announced that he has the support of the School Choice, Conservative and Independence parties in addition to the GOP. He says he’ll campaign in the heavily Orthodox Council district on improving public education while pushing for vouchers or other aid to parents who pay private school tuition (a political longshot but always welcome among frum voters.)

Political consultant Cynthia Darrison notes that Storobin “did represent all of the district, he wasn’t just the legislator for the Russian [community].” But she noted that after Nelson’s district was split in a way that diluted its Orthodox voting power, the remaining community there has become highly active and will likely promote an Orthodox candidate.

“They would have liked to have the lines drawn so an Orthodox Jew can more easily win that seat,” said Darrison. “But now they will be able to mobilize that vote.”

The five Democrats are Ari Kagan, Igor Oberman, and Michael Traybich, Chaim Deutsch, an aide to Nelson and founder of the Flatbush Shomrim community patrol and Theresa Scavo, chair of Community Board 15.