Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein will face a Republican opponent as she seeks reelection in the 41st District.
Weinstein, who has served in the Assembly for more then 30 years, is being challenged by Brooklyn Tea Party Chairman Joseph Hayon. Hayon previously faced off against Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in 2010, when he garnered 43 percent of the vote by spending little more than $600.
In that campaign, however, Hayon primarily appealed to religious Jewish voters by mis-characterizing a bill Cymbrowitz voted for as forcing religious schools to “teach Kindergarten children to ‘tolerate’ or sanctify same-gender relationships.” Hayon also made headlines in 2010 when, as a student at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard), the school banned him from handing out pro-life literature on campus, a decision the school eventually overturned.
Unfortunately for Hayon, Weinstein’s district – which spans the eastern part of Sheepshead Bay, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie – is far more Democratic than Cymbrowitz’s, and has a less dense population of religious Jewry for him to rely on. Still, he intends to position himself as the social conservative in the race, and will attempt to make Weinstein’s vote for same-sex marriage the central issue in the campaign.
Mr. Hayon is known in Brooklyn political circles as a particularly passionate opponent of the gay marriage legislation signed last year, and he hinted that Mr. Cymbrowitz’s vote against the bill — and Ms. Weinstein’s support of it — factored into his decision-making, in addition to redistricting changing the shape of the map.
“Weinstein’s vote to redefine marriage will play a major role in this campaign,” he explained in an email. “Voters do not forget easily, and they are still angry at the marriage vote.”
It’s curious to see that Hayon chose Weinstein’s seat as his objective after performing so well in Cymbrowitz’s district in 2010. That’s potentially because Cymbrowitz’s primary election challenger, Ben Akselrod, adopted many (if not all) of Hayon’s stances – including the mischaracterization of the bill mentioned above, opposition to gay marriage, and opposition to the Voorhies Avenue mosque – as we noted after his Akselerod’s campaign announcement.
It could also be that State Senator-elect David Storobin may also look to Cymbrowtiz’s seat as many have rumored. Storobin appears to have won the race against Fidler (though the Board of Elections still needs to certify the results), but the district will vanish come January. Storobin shares many of the same views as Hayon, and Hayon worked on his campaign, so it’s unlikely either would benefit from competing against each other in a Republican primary in a (statistically) Democratic district.
However, when Sheepshead Bites spoke to Storobin last week, he said he still had not thought at all about what he would do after his district disappears and that the rumors are nothing more than just that.