Borough Park

Hikind not running for re-election to Assembly after 36 years in Albany

Lonesome Dov is calling it quits

April 25, 2018 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dov Hikind, seen in action at a protest last year, will not seek re-election.
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Assemblymember Dov Hikind, a flamethrowing conservative Democrat with a safe seat in a highly Orthodox Central Brooklyn community, is calling it quits.

Hikind, 67, announced in a video on Wednesday that he will not seek re-election to his Borough Park and Midwood seat this November — a position he has held since 1982.

“I am excited about my future. There is still so much to be done,” Hikind said on the video, which was first reported by The Yeshiva World. “But before I can start the next chapter of my life, I intend to finish my term in the Assembly.”

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Hikind gave no reason for his decision.

Hikind, an Orthodox Jew who would easily be re-elected, represents a district that is home to a large population of Holocaust survivors. He has often feuded with lawmakers and Arab-American leaders over Middle East policy.

Last year, for example, he blasted a decision by the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health to invite controversial American leader Linda Sarsour to be a graduation speaker, charging her with anti-Semitism.

It was typical of the battles Hikind chose to fight, despite being merely an Assemblymember. He also crusaded against gay marriage, a wax statue of Yassir Arafat at Madame Tussauds, and the United Nations, while supporting racial profiling against Muslims. He also got in trouble in 2013 for wearing blackface at a Purim party.

In 1998, he was acquitted of federal charges that he took tens of thousands of dollars in payoffs from officials of a social services group.

Hikind is a maverick who has often crossed party lines to endorse Republicans. He supported Rudy Giuliani for mayor in 1993, George Pataki for governor in 1994, and said he wrote in House Speaker Paul Ryan in the 2016 presidential election.

Hikind has long been a behind-the-scenes political power broker in his district, grooming protégés to run for office. Both state Sen. Simcha Felder and former Councilmember David Greenfield cut their political teeth working as aides to Hikind.

But in November of 2017, Hikind suffered a setback when his son Yoni Hikind lost a bid to replace Greenfield to Kalman Yeyger, a civic activist. Hikind had heavily promoted his son’s council bid.

Hikind, of course, has had a much more successful political career, winning elections fairly routinely every two years. He ran unopposed in 2016 after a re-election two years earlier with 75 percent of the vote.

Yeyger offered Hikind a parting hat-tip.

“In his time as an assemblyman and member of the Democratic State Committee, he elevated our community’s place at the table, Yeyger said in a statement. “As it has long been said, ‘If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.’ Dov always fought to keep us at the table and off the menu.”

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