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Lhota Eyes Influential Voting Bloc In Satmar Jewish Community

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Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota needs to boost his poll numbers, and he appears to be looking to the city's Satmar Jewish community for help. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Joe Lhota is eyeing one influential Brooklyn community for votes.

Late Saturday night, the Republican mayoral candidate broke bread with one influential leader in Williamsburg's Satmar Jewish community.

A video of it was later posted on YouTube.

The community went solidly for Democrat Bill Thompson in the primary, and their votes are now up for grabs.

Lhota promised to deliver on issues raised by the community leader, such as housing.

"We will come forward with a plan," Lhota said during the meeting.

"You come forward with a plan, that's a big plus," the leader replied.

During the meeting, Lhota also said he was against requiring a parental waiver for a controversial circumcision procedure.

"I've been answering that question for months now. The government should not interfere," Lhota said.

But earlier this year, Lhota said the consent form was "reasonable."

"Now, he's saying he wants you to have a piece of paper that signs that you acknowledge that you understand it? That's a reasonable approach," Lhota said in April.

A spokeswoman for Lhota says the earlier comments were made before Lhota sat down with leaders to discuss the issue.

On Monday, Lhota said this weekend's sitdown was like any other he has held across the city.

"There are numerous issues that they're worried about," Lhota said. "I will do what I can and go to all communities throughout the city, not targeting one over the other. We need to look at this comprehensively."

The Satmar Jewish community has long been sought after by city politicians.

Community members typically vote in a bloc, and community leaders say they provide as many as 10,000 votes for their preferred candidate.

"Joe Lhota is smart. He is promising goods and services to a community that's really poor and in need, and if that works well, he'll will get that bloc of votes, so that would be good, because it'll put him on the map," said Democratic political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

Bill de Blasio has already secured the endorsement of a rival Satmar community, perhaps making it more likely for those in Williamsburg to go for Lhota.

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