New York’s 9th Congressional District has been represented in the People’s House by Democrats since 1923, and has never elected a Republican. Last night in a special election for the District, Republican Bob Turner (R) won with 54% of the vote against Dave Weprin’s (D) 46%. Weprin is a current New York Assemblyman. This is a huge blow to Democrats. To lose the seat once held by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) before he ascended to the Senate, can be see as a referendum on modern-day Liberalism, and abhorrent behavior toward Israel.
Turner will run again in the November 2012 elections, but redistricting is in the works, so we’ll have to wait and see where the lines are drawn. District 9 is 40% Jewish. Democrat Dave Weprin is an Orthodox Jew. Bob Turner was a loud opponent of Obama’s policies toward Israel, and his disrespect toward Benjamin Netanyahu. Former Democrat Mayor Ed Koch endorsed Turner.
A number of voters who spoke to the New York Times said that the Israel issue played a major role in their decision to support Turner, who was repeatedly critical of Obama on the subject of his policy towards Israel.
Turner, a 70-year-old Catholic, vowed to push back on Obama’s policies if elected. He received help from prominent Republicans including former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose much-praised stewardship of the city after the September 11 terror attacks was recalled during their 10th anniversary, last weekend.
The fact that Israel was an issue in the campaign came as a surprise, the Times reported, because Weprin is an observant Jew and avid supporter of Israel.
Orthodox Jews, who tend to be conservative on social issues, expressed anger over Weprin’s vote in the state Assembly to legalize gay marriage. In July, New York became one of six states to recognize same-sex nuptials.
The NRCC also put out a statement from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the only Jewish Republican serving in the House.
Cantor criticized Obama’s Middle East policies, which was a huge issue in the largely Orthodox Jewish district.
Turner “understands the special relationship that America has with our friend Israel. His victory tonight is an indicator that the Middle East policy pursued by the Obama Administration does not sit well with the many people who care deeply about the U.S./Israel relationship,” Cantor said.
Weprin tried to adopt that strategy, warning that Turner would try to cut programs like Medicare and Social Security. But with unemployment still stubbornly high and voters upset with Washington over the debt ceiling negotiations, the pledge to protect entitlements was less resonant this time.
Democratic leaders trying to explain their bad night blamed it on the quirkiness of low-turnout special elections.
The Washington Post says no matter how the White House wants to spin their loss, the fact is, Democrats voters are a 3-1 majority in the 9th.
No one is asking if former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s lewd photos sent via Twitter, paired with his boastful and meanly-arrogant bullying of any opposition to any Democrat plan, might have simply turned-off voters, and sent a few the Republican way. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi used Weiner to make outrageous claims, especially when on camera. It had to be difficult for decent people to like much about Anthony Weiner. Take a look at The Lonely Conservative’s post. She lives in New York State and has good insight and a number of good links. Find more at Memeorandum here and here.