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GOP Candidate Inna Vernikov Wins Brooklyn in the 48th Council District Which Has Been Democratic for Over 100 Years

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By Gary Tilzer

 

A political earthquake has hit Brooklyn Democratic Party. Inna Vernikov. A 36-year-old attorney and conservative Republican, has won the 48th Council District with 64% of the vote. Ms. Vernikov comes from a hard-working family of Ukrainian immigrants who migrated to the United States in 1996.

 

Inna beat Democratic candidate Steve Saperstein a special education teacher, touts the backing of the city’s law enforcement and other public employee unions. Vernikov has 11610 to Saperstein 6518 with 96% of the votes counted.              Inna Vernikov won 75-80% of the Russian American vote and 60% of the Orthodox Jewish Vote. In one of the biggest Orthodox voting sites Edward R. Murrow High School, Vernikov won over 60% of the vote.

 

Donald Trump Jr. made a last minute robocall call urging residents in southern Brooklyn to back Republican Vernikov in a close hotly contested City Council race. Vernikov 48 Council District (CD) contains Trump Village where Donald Jr.’s grandfather Fred started the family’s real estate empire. The district used to contain 20% of all of Brooklyn democratic votes back in the 1970’s.

Donald Jr.’s 30-second recorded call to voters of Vernikov district: “It is critical that we elect Inna Vernikov to the New York City Council because Inna stands for fully funding the police, jobs, and a strong economy and putting our country first.”

The 48th CD which voted 22,797 votes for Trump and 11,123 for Biden in 2020, has never elected a local republican office holder in a hundred years, except once in a special election. In one-party New York City, the winner is the Democratic primary in the entire city except for some districts in Staten Island and one or two districts in Queens.

The district includes many Russian-speaking and Jewish immigrants in the communities of Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay. The second biggest group in the district residing in Midwood and Homecrest, are Orthodox Jews, many of the district’s moderate-to-conservative Democrats crossed party lines and backed Trump. However, the Democrats hold a large enrollment edge over Republicans in the district, which has been in Democratic hands for over 100 years. It is clear that the Democratic Party made a big mistake with the Russian community when they backed Domenic Recchia in the primary which had five Jewish candidates split the primary vote.

In 2003 during redistricting, 40% of the Russian Jewish district was split off and put in another district.

A large number of voters in the district who are pro-republican on the issues registered as democrats to have a voice in local and state elections in the primaries. The district has over 20,000 registered voters that do not belong to the democratic party, who only mark their ballots in presidential general elections every four years. In the presidential 2020 election, there were 9,919 Republicans and 8,318 voters who do not belong to a party (mostly Russian). With an exceptionally low turnout in the early voting campaign experts are looking at how well the Vernikov campaign gets the message to the registered voters in the 48CD and what effect Donald Jr.’s endorsement has on getting the voters to the polls.

Two old pros are running the Vernikov campaign, former Boro Park Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind and the only Republican to win in southern Brooklyn in over 100 years David Storobin, who defeated the late political operative Lew Fidler for a State Senate district that covers part of the 48th council district. Saperstein has been endorsed by Orthodox leaders close to the Brooklyn Democratic Party, including the FJCC. The Jewish Voice endorsed Inna Vernikov.

 

 

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