Steven Cymbrowitz (l.) and Ben Akselrod (r.)

Conservative Democrat Ben Akselrod appears to be launching his second attempt to unseat incumbent Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, recently filing papers with the state to form a campaign committee.

Akselrod mounted his first challenge to Cymbrowitz in 2012, rising from relative obscurity to a credible candidate with the assistance of his close friend Ari Kagan. Akselrod came close to defeating Cymbrowitz in the Democratic primary, coming less than 300 votes shy of victory. He continued on to the general election on the Independence line, making it a three-way race with Republican Russ Gallo. Cymbrowitz won the general with a wide margin.

Akselrod and his supporters led a hard-knuckled campaign, in which the incumbent was criticized for not opposing a mosque just outside of his district, voting for a bill that encouraged tolerance education in schools including tolerance of homosexuals, and, just days before the primary election, marrying a woman who is not Jewish.

The race brought citywide media attention after Akselrod’s campaign released a flier with a typo claiming that the assemblyman “allowed crime to go up over 50% in the negrohood,” a claim that was factually incorrect regardless of the typo.

Cymbrowitz stayed mum for most of the campaign, leading one outlet to say he was running a “gentleman’s campaign,” but eventually spoke out against “vicious” tactics two weeks after the primary.

Although it’s widely expected, it’s still not fully clear whether Akselrod will run this year. Because of illness, he did not attend last night’s meeting of the Bay Democrats, the club where he serves as president and where he is likely to announce.

District Leader Ari Kagan, a close friend and adviser to Akselrod, told Sheepshead Bites that the papers were simply the first steps to forming an “exploratory committee” to determine whether Akselrod will run.

“He told me it’s an exploratory committee. When he decides 100 percent, he’ll have a big kickoff. Like in May, when the weather is nice,” said Kagan.

Akselrod, however, sounded very much like a candidate in an interview yesterday with Politicker, which first reported on the campaign filings.

“I certainly hope to win. Look, the status quo can’t continue forever. I think I have more energy, more desire to do the job,” Akselrod told Politicker. “There are still many problems with Hurricane Sandy recovery … It’s a year and a half later and we’re still talking about things that should have been done 15 days after the storm hit.”

Akselrod did not return a request to comment in time for publication. We’ll update this post if we here back from him.

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  • ProCym

    I may not agree with everything Cymbrowitz does. However, all in all IMO, he is doing a fine job. Also, he is a gentleman, something we rarely see in elected officials. I would love to see Ben Akselrod run and run and not come back!!!!!

  • Andy

    how does his marrying a non-Jewish person he loves and is happy with affect his qualities as a politician?

    • politians time to go

      That’s the whole point. Cybro is a politician. Lies left and right. Will tell you one thing in your face and another thing behind your back. Ben is not a politician.

      • Notmynegrohood

        He’s not? Then what’s he doing as the president of a POLITICAL club and engaging in POLITICS? Hell, if Ben is not a politician than what is he? Besides his unfortunate involvement in politics all I’ve heard about him is he has a no show job at his daddy’s company.

      • Arniethek

        But what do the religious beliefs of the Assemblyman’s wife have to do with anything? If Akselrod made this a campaign issue he is a desperate man who is undeserving of elective office.

        • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

          Please read the article it links to. The issue was never directly connected to his campaign, but widely believed to have been done by his supporters with or without his consent.

          • ArnietheK

            Did Akselrod ever denounce this attack by his supporters?

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