Republicans choose candidate for Weiner's vacated seat
July 8th, 2011
08:12 PM ET
10 months ago

Republicans choose candidate for Weiner's vacated seat

(CNN) - The race is heating up in former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner's congressional district.

Republicans chose their nominee, businessman Bob Turner, on Friday to run in a special election set for Sept. 13.

The announcement came just one day after local Democrats made their pick in New York Assemblyman David Weprin, a former member of the New York City Council and a 2009 candidate for City Comptroller.

Weiner represented New York’s 9th congressional district, which covers parts of Queens and Brooklyn, for more than 12 years. After being caught in a scandal involving lewd photos sent to several women via Twitter, the married congressman stepped down June 16.

Turner is no stranger to congressional politics. The 70-year-old challenged Weiner for the seat in 2010, losing with 40 percent of the vote - a high finish for a Republican in the liberal-leaning district.

"Bob ran strongly against the incumbent last time, and we know he has the momentum now going into this special election to win and send a strong message to Washington that the people need real change for the American people," Queens County GOP Chairman Phil Ragusa said in a statement.

While Democrats strongly outnumber Republicans, and have traditionally represented the area, political analysts say the GOP may have a shot at uprooting the area's longtime Democratic dynasty.

"This is the best chance the Republicans have had of stealing the seat than they've seen in decades," said Scott Levenson, Democratic political consultant and president of The Advance Group in New York.

In his 2010 campaign against Weiner, Turner was able to drum up a larger-than-usual amount of conservative grassroots support, even without a widespread presence of tea party groups in the district.

And while Weprin has high name recognition in Queens, where he’s part of a family with strong political ties, analysts say the 55-year-old Democrat lacks the same advantage in the remainder of the district in Brooklyn.

But an even bigger challenge - for both campaigns - will be raking in enough cash during the next nine weeks.

Fundraising is always a problem in the short lifespan of a special election, but given the district could disappear in a 2013 redistricting plan, analysts say convincing donors to open their wallets will be tough.

"People are only seeing it as an investment for the next year and a half," Levenson said.

While some sources speculate Weprin was chosen to be a placeholder, one too loyal to challenge fellow Democratic incumbents if his seat gets carved out, Weprin's spokesman says the redistricting plan is a non-issue for now.

"It's impossible to predict the future," said Evan Stavisky, spokesman for Weprin's campaign. "If people can predict the future, they should be buying lottery tickets, not trying to figure out congressional politics."


Filed under: Anthony Weiner • New York • Republicans
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    As a Democrat woman, I believe Michelle Bachmann can win Democratic women if she'd just stop saying crazy things and we still have an issue with her Tea Party people. Bachmann needs to broker a deal, how I don't know, but she needs to put more thought in what she says before she speaks.

    July 8, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Freedom 2012

    GOP 2011 AND 2012! I support Bob Turner!

    July 8, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  3. Clwyd

    Of course, a businessman who will represent the rich, big corporations and big business, but forget about real Americans!

    July 9, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  4. The Obama Recession Continues Unabated, Obama Depression on the way

    I don't think there are enough sane people in this district to elect a Republican. More than 50% wanted the pervert Weiner to stay in office. HOPEFULLY enough of them will sober up before the election and vote for the Republican candidate.

    July 9, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. GI Joe

    The will bring in the Dubya program for the voting machines that turns 1/2 of the dem votes to rep. They've done it before. If they can't get elected, they get "selected" by the thugs or the radical-right-leaning Supreme Court (fascism at it's worst).

    July 9, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  6. diane

    I don,t think any Gay Bashing,Radical Republican candidates will have any chance of winning anywhere in this country,unless he,s in the South????Consevatives are going down, in this country for lying to the American People!! Racism is a big factor now on the Right! Vote them out!!!

    July 9, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |