14 September 2011

Special Election Turns NY9 into GOP District

Bob Turner, a New York businessman who became a novice Republican candidate, defeated longtime Democrat state legislator David Welprin in the race to replace disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th Congressional District. This also happened to be Senator Chuck Schumer’s district when he was in the House.  Turner had won a court injunction to impound absentee ballots because of gross incompetence of election officials who repeatedly sent unrequested absentee ballots to dead people.  But the post election lawfare was unnecessary as Turner won by about 8%,  which is beyond the margin of fraud.

The spin responding to this loss is laughable.  DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 20th) dismisses the loss as this was a difficult district for Democrats to win, since it got the 2nd lowest Democrat votes in New York City.   OK, the district was a D +5 district which Barack Obama carried by 15% in 2008.  Moreover, Democrats had held the NY9 seat since 1923.  Oops! It makes one wonder if Sgt. Schultz is one of the DNC Chair's  political braintrust.

Left side spinners may minimize Rep.-elect Bob Turner’s (R-NY 9th) victory as being short lived since New York legislators were set to eliminate NY9 as part of redistricting.  That might explain why the Democrats put up a party hack who did not even live within the Congressional District to stand for the post.  Democrats threw $600,000 in independent expenditures to try to hold NY9 because a Democrat insider confided: “This isn’t about one seat. It’s about two or three. The party’s $500,000 investment is insurance for the delegation, not for Weprin.”  But Congressmen-elect Turner’s victory may throw a monkey wrench into the redistricting plans to eliminate NY-9. Now New York legislators may eliminate another downstate seat and pack more Republicans into NY-13 in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The results in this Special Election in New York are a marked contract to the routes in traditional Republican strongholds in NY-26 near Buffalo this spring and the Dee Dee Scozzafava fiasco in NY-23 in 2009.  One difference is who chose the candidates.  Republican Party insiders were the decision makers for Scozzafava (who eventually endorsed the Democrat in the race) as well as Jane Corwin in NY-26.  Turner was a television executive who did not have local GOP insider connections.  For the NY-9 race, Queen’s Democrat Party Chair Joe Crowley selected the underwhelming Welprin, who carried baggage of supporting the 9/11 mosque in a heavily Orthodox Jewish district.  The internal numbers show that Democrats lost by a 67%-33% margin in Brooklyn, where many Orthodox reside.

The lack of support in the Jewish community shown in the NY-9 results should be quite worrisome to Democrats and Obama 2012 campaigns.   Welprin’s 45% showing is in stark contrast to the 55% that Barack Obama won the district in 2008.  The internal election results show that Democrats lost by a 67%-33% margin in Brooklyn, where many Orthodox reside.  This does not bode well for Democrats, as the Jewish vote has always been reliable at the ballot box and they have been key fundraisers.

To echo how these special elections were a referendum on the Obama Administration, consider the results from Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District to replace Senator Dean Heller (R-NV).  This is a reliably Republican district ( R +5) , so the win was no surprise.  What was eye opening was the margin of victory.  In 2008, by virtue of the top of the ticket, Sen. John McCain barely won the district, but in the Special Election, Congressman-elect Mark Amodei (R-NV 2nd) won by 21%. Be it red state or blue state, the electorate is unhappy with the leadership in the Oval Office.

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