In a stunning upset for the Democrat party, retired businessman and Republican novice Bob Turner won the special election last night by a whopping 8% margin over Democrat David Weprin.
By all accounts, this should have been a slam dunk win for the Democrats who have held the New York district 9 House seat for nearly a century. Registered Democrats in the district outnumber Republicans 3 to 1. President Obama won NY9 by 11%. Weprin had political name recognition and the backing of Senator Chuck Shumer who held the seat prior to endorsing Anthony Weiner 7 terms ago. But with a lagging national economy and Turner promising to push back on Obama’s policies, Weprin was forced to play defense during the entire campaign.
Religion and traditional values were an obvious contributor to the Turner win. Weprin, who claims to be an Orthodox Jew, had supported building a Mosque at Ground Zero and favors gay marriage, which the Jewish community in Queens and Brooklyn strongly oppose. Turner, a Catholic, in addition to promising a pro-growth, pro-business agenda in Washington, campaigned on his support of Israel, an obvious referendum on President Obama’s stance on the United States ally.
The win grants Turner about an 18 month term in a district that will likely be eliminated following redistricting in New York as significant decline in population cost the state 2 House seats.