New York Democrat Aims to Flip State Seat as ‘Pro-Israel’ Candidate

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A New York City Democrat aiming to secure a state assembly seat in Brooklyn has filed to run on a “Pro-Israel Party” ballot line to enhance his chances in the heavily Jewish southern part of the borough.

Joey Cohen Saban, the petitioner, is seeking to unseat GOP incumbent Michael Novakhov and claims to have collected sufficient signatures to run as the nominee for his proposed party. Nevertheless, he will also be running as a Democrat in the 45th Assembly District.

“The line would provide a way for people to show support for Israel, to get the attention it deserves,” Saban told the New York Post. “There’s tremendous support for Israel in the district.”

A Brooklyn native and Jewish himself, Saban has criticized his opponent for previously donating to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a known critic of Israel. He also compared Novakhov to former New York Rep. George Santos, who changed his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican, noting that Santos later switched from Republican to independent.

“Novakhov has supported people who are anti-Israel — it crosses the line,” Saban stated.

In response, Novakhov, who is also Jewish, has suggested that Saban may not have enough valid signatures for the ballot move. “Some signatures are not kosher,” Novakhov remarked.

“Saban is using the situation in Israel to get more votes,” he added. “It’s just a trick.”

This move is unique among politicians seeking voter support this fall, with many utilizing Israel’s conflict with Hamas as a focal point in their campaigns. While Republicans generally back Israel, some Democrats have been reluctant to fully support Israel’s fight with Hamas.

Democrats currently hold a 102-48 supermajority in the New York State Assembly, part of a Democratic trifecta in the state.

All seats in the New York Senate and Assembly are up for election this November.

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