The district has not been represented by a Republican since 1923. But Weiner’s departure, coupled with voter discontent over President Obama’s handling of the economy, could change that Tuesday when the district votes in a special election to fill the seat.
“If Turner wins, it’s going to be perceived to be, and in some sense really will be, a referendum on Obama,” said Douglas Muzzio, professor of public affairs at Baruch College in New York.
As Obama struggles to gain footing on a wobbly economy, his party has begun a frantic effort to avoid the embarrassment of losing the seat.
“Democrats need to keep this seat just to save face,” Malone said. “Not only is the money flowing, but all of these elected [Democratic] officials, they’re all asking their staff members if they could take time out to go campaign for Weprin.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested about $500,000 on a last-minute advertising campaign. House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has spent at least $100,000 to run its own ad assailing Turner for his “tea party” ties.
That’s a lot of money in a race in which the candidates had raised $654,755 combined by late August.
Turner’s campaign got a small boost from the National Organization for Marriage. The group pledged to spend $75,000 to oppose Weprin, who in June voted for the bill that legalized same-sex marriage in New York.
National Republican Party groups had yet to spend significantly on the race, suggesting that the party might have less faith in Turner than his late boost in the polls might suggest. But even a close race — Turner won just 39% of the vote in his run against Weiner in 2010 — would be enough to embarrass Democrats.
“Even if Turner comes up short, it’s sort of a feather in the cap of the Republican Party,” Malone said.
Well, now Democrats aren’t just “embarassed.” They’re crunched like the nasty little disease-carrying roaches they are.
Not only did Democrats lose the seat, but they lost it to a guy who “launched conservativer provacateur Rush Limbaugh’s talk show.”
Even with a 3-1 advantage in Democrat regirstration over Republican registration, it wasn’t really even close:
With about 70 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Turner had 53 percent of the vote to Weprin’s 47 percent.
The also überliberal Washington Post wrote it up thus:
Republican Bob Turner wins New York special election
Posted by Rachel Weinerat 11:58 PM ET, 09/13/2011
Businessman Bob Turner (R) defeated state Assemblyman David Weprin (D) in the special election for the House seat held by former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D).
Turner’s victory is regarded as an upset given the Democratic history of the 9th district, which takes in portions of Brooklyn and Queens, as well as the fact that President Obama carried the seat by 11 points in 2008.
“New Yorkers put Washington Democrats on notice that voters are losing confidence in a President whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) in a statement after Turner’s win.
Republican Bob Turner won a New York seat that Democrats expected to hold.
Although the district may well be eliminated by Empire State line-drawers tasked with cutting down New York’s congressional delegation by two seat before 2012, the result will buoy Republicans hopes heading into 2012 and spur anxiety among Democrats.
Republicans also easily held a seat in Nevada’s GOP-heavy 2nd district, which has never elected a Democrat. State Sen. Mark Amodei (R) beat state Treasurer Kate Marshall (D) in a special election for the House seat left open by Sen. Dean Heller (R), who was appointed to replace Sen. John Ensign (R). Ensign resigned earlier this year over a scandal involving an aide.
The New York seat, which was vacated by Weiner earlier this year following relevations of his involvement in a series of online liaisons with women who weren’t his wife, was initially considered safe for Democrats.
While it’s conservative by New York City standards, Democrats still have a 3-to-1 registration advantage in the district.
Republicans sought to turn the race into a referendum on President Obama, tying Weprin to the surprisingly unpopular commander-in-chief at every turn. (Obama’s approval rating was at 43 percent in the district, according to a survey conducted by Siena Research Institute).
Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus cast the result as a rebuke of Obama’s new jobs plan.
Obama’s position on Israel became, fairly or not, an effective wedge against Weprin. The Democratic candidate tried to distance himself from Obama’s assertion that Israel should return to its pre-1967 borders but Turner effectively linked that position, deeply unpopular in the district’s Jewish community, to his Democratic rival.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, endorsed Turner and explained that a victory by the Republican would be the best way for Democrats to send a message to the President.
The National Jewish Democratic Council disputed the idea that Israel was a major factor.
“In the end, in this difficult economy, Americans — including in New York’s Ninth District — are hurting,” said National Jewish Democratic Council President David Harris. “In this atypical district, they’ve reacted atypically.”
In the run-up to Tuesday’s vote, Democratic party leaders were doing everything they could to de-couple those vote from any sort of national trend.
As evidence they cited the fact that Democratic performance in the district has been eroding for years. In the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore got 67 percent of the vote; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) got only 56 percent in 2004, and Barack Obama 55 percent in 2008.
Moreover, Democratic strategists noted that they had a fairly weak candidate in Weprin, whose campaign was plagued by gaffes. He was chosen by party leaders largely because he promised not to challenge another incumbent in 2012, should his seat be eliminated in redistricting.
With New York slated to lose two seats due to growth over the last decade that lagged the national average, the 9th is considered ripe territory to be eliminated although no formal redistricting discussions have taken place.
As we’ve written, special elections are notoriously unreliable as predictors of future results. But for now, Democrats have reason to be spooked.
If Democrats had any wisdom at all, they were be spooked about the fact that very nearly all of them are going to burn in hell forever someday. But as it is they’re more “spooked” the way cockroaches are spooked when you turn on the light in the kitchen.
The granddaddy of überliberalism New York Times said that Democrats were getting real scared about Obama’s chances of getting re-elected just a couple of days ago. How do you think they feel tonight after losing a seat they’d held for almost a hundred years?
Democrats are following their failed president straight into the disaster they deserve. Leprosy is more popular than this total loser.