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Entries in David Weprin (4)

Wednesday
Sep142011

Democrats Lose NY Seat: Bellwether or Blip?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It was a crushing defeat for Democrats in a district that has three times as many registered Democrats as registered Republicans, and that has been in Democratic hands since 1923. But will David Weprin’s loss to Bob Turner in the special election to replace Anthony Weiner reverberate nationwide? And is it a referendum on President Obama or just a local case of low turnout and a weak candidate?

The answer often seems to depend upon which side of the political aisle you are on -- although some Democrats are more willing to express concern for President Obama’s chances in 2012 and see the special election as a grim warning sign, as do many Republicans.

Throughout the short campaign, Bob Turner and his supporters pounded the message that if he was victorious in the district, it would undoubtedly send a national message on economic and foreign policy issues.

However, some specific details suggest national Democrats shouldn’t worry too much about the loss: low turnout in some parts of the district, a weak gaffe-filled candidate who didn’t even live in the district, the district trending more conservative, and the fact that special congressional elections traditionally haven’t been national bellwethers in the House (this doesn’t take into account Republican Scott Brown’s surprising election to the Senate in Massachusetts the January before huge GOP wins in both houses of Congress).

In 2006, Republicans won special elections across the country but lost the House, while in 2010 Democrats won special elections and lost the House, something the Democratic Congressional Committee pointed out in its memo about the loss.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who held the seat for 18 years, said Wednesday in a conference call held by the Democratic National Committee that the election was “unusual” and “unique,” but it was not a referendum, pointing out the district is “among the most conservative” in New York City.

“The bottom line is it’s not a bellwether district,” Schumer said. “Anybody that tries to extrapolate between what’s happened in this district and what would happen in New York City, New York state or the country is making a big mistake.”

On Air Force One Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney tried to downplay the loss and said special elections are “unique,” and they don’t forecast regular elections well.

“Are Americans in general not happy with Washington?” Carney asked. “The answer is yes.”

He added that members of Congress from both parties that are up for election in 2012 need to focus on job creation.

It seems Republicans will continue to herald the victory as a bellwether and warning to the White House while Democrats will try to downplay the loss. But all of the issues involved in the race -- jobs, entitlement preservation and Middle East policy -- likely will continue to be pounded on the campaign trail from both sides of the aisle until November 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep142011

GOP Victory: Bob Turner Wins Anthony Weiner's House Seat

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In an upset to Democrats both locally and nationally, Republican Bob Turner defeated Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin in Tuesday's special election to replace Anthony Weiner in New York’s ninth Congressional district.

The race for the Congressional seat, which had been too close to call, was one that Republicans were hoping to frame as a referendum on President Obama.  Sending a message to the White House on both economic and foreign policy issues was a frequent message touted by Turner and his supporters.

“This message will resound for a full year.  It will resound into 2012,” Turner said at his victory party in Howard Beach.  “I only hope our voices are heard, and we can start putting things right again.”

The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee quickly put out a statement congratulating Turner and saying the win is a “clear rebuke of President Obama’s policies” and it “delivers a blow to Democrats’ goal of making Nancy Pelosi the Speaker again.”

“New Yorkers put Washington Democrats on notice that voters are losing confidence in a President whose policies assault job-creators and affront Israel.  An unpopular President Obama is now a liability for Democrats nationwide in a 2012 election that is a referendum on his economic policies,” the statement reads.

Longtime New York City Democratic analyst Hank Sheinkopf says there is no doubt voters were trying to send a message to the White House, and Democrats should see Tuesday’s results as a bellwether for 2012.

“The Democrats said no to Obama, no to his economic plan, and no to his position on Israel,” Sheinkopf told ABC News.  “It’s major smack at Democrats, a definite rejection of President Obama and it’s a warning that says if Catholics in the most blue of blue states can vote for the Republican they can do it in other states as well and the Democrats may have real trouble.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep132011

Dead Voters in NY-9? Candidate Bob Turner Obtains Order Sealing Paper Ballots

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Claiming a handful of deceased voters have been mailed absentee ballots for Tuesday’s special election in New York to replace Anthony Weiner, an attorney for Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner told ABC News that he has obtained a court order to seal all paper ballots in New York’s 9th Congressional District, pending judicial review.

“We found five dead people, confirmed, who were mailed absentee ballots,” said Turner’s attorney, Grant Lally. “Some of these people have been dead for years.”

Lally said he also knows of at least one person who came to the Turner campaign claiming he or she had been sent an absentee ballot, even though the voter had not filled out an application.

“They just got it in the mail from the Board of Elections,” Lally told ABC News two hours before the polls closed Tuesday in the tight race between Turner and Democratic state assemblyman David Weprin.

“Either it is a massive failure at the Board of Elections, or someone is fraudulently filing absentee applications,” Lally said, suggesting that the number of absentee ballots known to have been sent to deceased voters may just be “the tip of the iceberg.”

“This is an indication that there may be widespread voter fraud going on,” he said.

Calls and emails to Weprin’s campaign were not returned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep132011

Is Race to Replace Anthony Weiner a Referendum on Obama?

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(FOREST HILLS, N.Y.) -- Tuesday’s election in New York’s 9th congressional district has Republican Bob Turner facing off against Democrat David Weprin, but on the campaign trail Monday in Queens, the words Obama and Israel were heard almost as much as Turner and Weprin.

The race to replace former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner is too close to call, with Republicans trying to frame the contest as a referendum on President Obama -- although turnout is usually low in a special election.

Weprin, a state assemblyman, campaigned at a senior center, held a rally at his Forest Hills headquarters and greeted voters at a subway stop, while Turner, a retired media executive, held a rally with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  At both events the issue of Israel, as well as the economy, was the focus of the candidates and their supporters.

Weprin is an Orthodox Jew, while Turner is an observant Catholic, and both groups are heavily represented in the district.  Despite being a heavily Democratic district, Israel has become one of the biggest issues in the race for Jewish voters who are upset at President Obama’s call to return to Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

Giuliani, standing with Turner outside the Forest Hills train station, spent a large portion of his comments talking about Israel.  He said a Turner victory would have the White House “thinking about a new policy with regard to the state of Israel.”

When asked if he was surprised that the issue had become such an important one in the race when his opponent is Jewish, Turner acknowledged that he and Weprin’s views on Israel are similar, but it’s about the president’s stance on Israel.

“It’s not about my position or his (Weprin) which are pretty identical, it’s the president’s position and if you are with the party or against it, simple as that and will this district, which is surprisingly overwhelmingly Democratic, will they go along with the president and be able to be taken for granted as it were or will they send this message of protest and dissatisfaction,” Turner told ABC News.

Giuliani did not hesitate to criticize Weprin, saying he has a “willingness to follow anything the Obama administration wants him to do or say” on the Israel issue.

At his rally, Weprin was flanked by City Council speaker Christine Quinn and Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., among other supporters.  They linked Turner with the Tea Party, John Boehner and Eric Cantor, and said Turner can’t be trusted to protect popular entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, adding that the race is about “preserving” those programs.

However, Israel was also a focus and Weprin made it clear that that he is a strong supporter, pointing out that he’s been there eight times and said Turner’s Israel advocacy is politically motivated.

In a Siena poll released Friday, Turner was leading Weprin among likely voters, with a 50-44 percent margin.  The same poll found 43 percent of voters approving Obama’s job performance while 54 percent disapproved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio