Sep. 8, 2023 By Carlotta Mohamed
The vacant seat was previously held by former state Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal, who was one of the leading Jewish advocates in the state Legislature. In June, Rosenthal resigned from office to begin a new role as vice president for Government Relations for the UJA-Federation of NY.
For the past six years, Rosenthal represented a heavily-Orthodox Jewish and Asian community in Central Queens. Now, there are two Orthodox Jewish candidates in opposite parties running in their first political races to fill Rosenthal’s seat.
Democratic candidate Sam Berger, 25, is a local resident and graduate of St. John’s Law. If elected to office, Berger has pledged to be a “relentless advocate, tirelessly working to address the issues” that matter most to constituents. His vision for District 27 centers around education, public safety, and affordability.
Berger received a formal endorsement from Rosenthal, and secured the Queens Democratic Party’s nomination for the open seat. If elected to office, he will become the youngest Assembly member. Rosenthal secured that title when he was elected in 2017 at age 26. He won a special election to replace Michael Simanowitz, who died of cancer at age 46.
Berger is squaring off against Republican and Conservative Party candidate David Hirsch, 34, who is a local resident and graduate of Queens College. Hirsch, who is a policy consultant and rabbi, is running to “be the voice of the people and to advocate for them and their interests.” Hirsch’s top three campaign issues include reducing crime, protecting parental rights in education, and preventing the opening of migrant camps in neighborhoods.
The winner of the special election will serve out the rest of Rosenthal’s term until the end of 2024.
Early voting for the District 27 special election began on Saturday, Sept. 2 and will run until Sunday, Sept. 10. Poll sites and their hours during the early voting period can be found at voting.nyc by entering your address on the “Where to Vote” page.
Polls will be open for in-person voting on Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.