Special Election Upset: NY Republican Wins Longtime Democratic Seat
In an upset of historic proportions, a Republican has won a special election to fill a New York Congressional seat held by the Democrats since the Calvin Coolidge administration of the 1920s.
Retired media executive and political newcomer Bob Turner defeated Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Congressman Anthony Weiner, a seven-term Democrat who resigned in the midst of a sex texting scandal.
This race started out as a simple contest to replace Weiner, but in the leadup to the election it grew into a referendum on President Barack Obama’s policies, especially his positions on Israel.
According to the New York Times, Turner took advantage of the discontent among the Jewish community with Obama’s policy toward Israel and his conduct pertaining to the Middle East peace process.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, endorsed Turner in July as a way to “send a message” to Obama on his policies toward Israel. And Weprin was challenged on his support of a proposed Islamic center and mosque near the World Trade Center site, in lower Manhattan.
This heavily Democratic district is 40% Jewish, and had never sent a Republican to the House. The race was supposed to be an easy win for Democrats, who outnumber Republicans 3-1 in the district.
Political observers say this does not bode well for President Obama’s re-election hopes next year.