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Thursday, January 31, 2008

One Brooklyn Orthodox Jew For Obama

Elizabeth Benjamin, Daily News

Councilman Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat and likely 2009 comptroller candidate, was asked last night by Orthodox Jewish radio personality Nachum Segal who he will be voting for on Feb. 5 and his answer raised the eyebrows of at least one listener/DP reader.

Felder said he's planning to vote for Barack Obama in "protest" to the racially-tinged tactics employed by Hillary Clinton's campaign in South Carolina.

Felder spokesman Eric Kuo confirmed that his boss will be voting for Obama, but stressed that he is neither campaigning for nor endorsing the Illinois senator.

"(Felder) was very uncomfortable with the way Obama was treated by Clinton's campaign in South Carolina," Kuo confirmed. "He was keeping abreast of the race, and was undecided. But South Carolina upset him, and this is essentially a protest."

Brooklyn is a hotbed of Obama support, with the bulk of the elected official detractors from the Clinton camp hailing from the borough.

The news about Felder dovetails neatly into Ben's post earlier today on how the Clinton campaign is scrambling to reach voters in Orthodox communities - particularly in Brooklyn - in an effort not to get, as he put it, "drowned in a demographic wave" in the city's predominantly African-American congressional districts on primary day.

The fear is that Orthodox Democrats, who often trend Republican in general elections (strong support there for Rudy Giuliani, for example), will simply stay home on Feb. 5, adding further weight to the black vote, which is already expected to be higher than usual, turnout-wise.

Of particular concern to the Clintons, according to one Jewish political source, are the CDs of Yvette Clarke (11th), Ed Towns (10th), and Greg Meeks (6th, in Queens). Rep. Charlie Rangel's district in Harlem, where Sen. Bill Perkins is leading the Obama charge, is also a worry, particularly since Bill Clinton's office is there.

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