The election contest for the city comptroller's office is a little less crowded with the news that Council Member Simcha Felder will challenge state Senator Kevin Parker for his seat.
According to a source, Mr. Felder, who was regarded as a likely candidate for comptroller in 2009, is choosing instead to run against Mr. Parker, the Senate's Democratic minority whip, in this year's primary. Messrs. Felder and Parker each represent parts of Brooklyn.
The decision affects the race for city comptroller, for which there is a glut of potential candidates due to the large number of term-limited council members. Likely comptroller candidates in 2009 include council members David Yassky of Brooklyn, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2006, Melinda Katz of Queens, who recently gave birth to her first child, and David Weprin of Queens, the chairman of the council's finance committee. Council Member John Liu of Queens is another possible contender, though he is said be considering a run for public advocate as well.
Mr. Parker, who was first elected in 2002, already faces a primary challenge from Council Member Kendall Stewart, who is currently dealing with political fallout from the City Council's slush fund scandal: Two of the council member's aides were indicted on embezzlement charges earlier this year for allegedly stealing $145,000 from a nonprofit, the Donna Reid Memorial Education Fund. Mr. Parker has had his own run-in with the law — he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault charges after he struck a traffic agent who was writing him a ticket in 2005.
Messrs. Parker and Felder could not be reached for comment.