Ed Koch hopes GOP will capture Weiner's seat
July 12th, 2011
02:38 PM ET
3 years ago

Ed Koch hopes GOP will capture Weiner's seat

(CNN) - Former Democratic New York Mayor Ed Koch said Tuesday he wants Republicans to take the district formerly represented by Rep. Anthony Weiner–a seat held by Democrats for decades.

Expressing outrage over President Barack Obama's views on Israel, Koch warned in an interview that the Sept. 13 special election to replace Weiner could become a bellwether on the president's recent calls for Israel to return to its 1967 borders with land swaps.

New York's 9th congressional district, which covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens, is one of the most Jewish districts in the country.

Koch compared the race to the 2010 Massachusetts senate race when Republican Scott Brown won the longtime Democratic seat vacated by Sen. Ted Kennedy after his death in 2009. The GOP victory was widely considered a referendum on the senate's Democratic supermajority in Congress.

"That election changed Obama," Koch said. "Today he's far more centrist because of it."

Koch believes the same effect would happen to the president's policy on Israel should the heavily Democratic district in New York elect a Republican to the House.

"It will be another political shot heard around the nation," Koch wrote in an email Monday to Republicans, announcing his view.

The three-term mayor insisted the president would be paying close attention to the outcome of the special election, which recently got underway when local Republican and Democratic parties chose their nominees.

While the Democratic pick, David Weprin, is an observant Jew and a New York assemblyman with a storied family in Queens County politics, the nominee has drawn criticism from the local Jewish community on voting for New York's recently-passed same sex marriage law.

But when it comes to foreign policy, Democratic campaign sources point to Weprin's strong pro-Israeli stance. And, if elected, Weprin would be the only Orthodox Jew in the House of Representatives.

"Nobody is a stronger supporter of Israel than David Weprin," said campaign spokesman Evan Stavisky. "Not only will David Weprin fight for Israel, he'll also fight to protect the Jewish community in Queens and Brooklyn from House Republicans' devastating cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

Koch told CNN he has no problem with Weprin, whose brother, Mark, worked in Koch's administration. But the former mayor says the special election in NY-9 presents an opportunity to send a message to the White House.

"This issue is bigger than David Weprin," Koch said. "Of course he's a supporter of Israel, but his election is not going to change Obama."

After Obama's Mideast speech in May, media reports cited slipping support for the president among the Jewish community. But a recent Gallup poll showed a majority of Jewish Americans still approve of Obama at 60 percent.

Republicans in the 9th district hope their candidate, businessman Bob Turner, will make strides in the race by maintaining the party line on Israel. Turner challenged Weiner for the seat in November and lost with 40 percent of the vote, a higher-than-normal Republican finish in the district.

Koch has been known in the past to cross party lines and endorse Republicans. In 2004, he backed President George W. Bush's re-election bid. He also supported Rudy Giuliani in the Republican's first run for New York Mayor.

But Koch's recent comments aren't an endorsement for Turner. The Republican candidate would have to campaign against spending cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security–an unlikely scenario–to get the former mayor's full support, Koch said.

When asked who Koch would endorse if Turner, a staunch conservative, doesn't switch his position on entitlements, Koch said he would withhold comment for now.

"But I probably won't endorse anyone, since it would go Democrat, anyway," Koch said.

However, in his email to Republicans Monday, the Democrat closed his message hoping voters would make "history" by electing a Republican.

"They can consign themselves to oblivion or be remembered in the history books," Koch wrote.

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ConservaFASCISTS/Domestic Terrorists/Taliban/Al Queda/TRAITORS

    Who asked Koch for his opinion? And who the hell's bright idea was it to rename a bridge after him? He was a terrible mayor.

    July 12, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Except, well, you know...OBAMA DIDN'T CALL FOR ISRAEL TO RETURN TO ITS 1967 BORDERS. He spoke the same policy that has been in place for decades....that negotiations for land swaps start from that premise. Koch must've forgot his Namenda this morning....senile old fart.

    July 12, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. Eric

    As a Jewish American living in NY, I am appalled at Koch's comment. With the Republicans hell-bent on destroying our country and economy, Koch's comments show a lack of understanding about what being an American is. Yes, I support Israel, but I support the United States FIRST!

    July 12, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. John in Brooklyn

    Ed Koch has consistently been aligned with the most radical of the Republican wing for many years. Fortunately, his opinions don't reflect those of most New Yorkers.

    July 12, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Moderate Sean

    Koch is a moron and loud mouth, enough said!

    July 12, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Donkey Party

    Does Koch have the same level of scorn for all the presidents of the last 30 years who have stated the same thing as President Obama???

    July 12, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. hilroy

    This is why the knives are out for the Prez. If you say anything that look like Pro-Palestinan you are finish. People like this old geezer are playing with fire. Mr. Prez these guys are not your friends and you should take their words, actions and deeds very seriously. He and his friends on Wall Street are responsible for the economic situation we are in now in and yet they are blaming Prez. Obama who most of them and their friends in Israel did not want to see elected in the first place.

    July 12, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    New York probably has more Union jobs than any other State plus New Yorkers are smart and will never endorse a Republican, Kochs just saying stuff.

    July 12, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Liberal elite=anyone with an education

    The opinions of a guy who is that fixated on a single issue may not be entirely useful.

    July 12, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    That's probably wishful thinking. NY is a Dem state, and there is a certain backlash against the GOP right now, for being anti-union, anti-women's rights, anti-gays, and anti-environment. Actually, the only thing the GOP is for, is converting the population into serfs, so they can all become monarchs, over everyone else.

    July 12, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Oooooh – did someone get his little Jewish feelings hurt? Maybe he can extort more money out of the U.S.

    July 12, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Al-NY,NY

    Nice to know where Ed's loyalties lie.....

    July 12, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    "Koch compared the race to the 2010 Massachusetts senate race when Republican Scott Brown won the longtime Democratic seat vacated by Sen. Ted Kennedy after his death in 2009. The GOP victory was widely considered a referendum on the senate's Democratic supermajority in Congress."
    --------------
    His Honor is living in the past. He would be thrown out of today's GOP just like Newt is being dissed. What happened in the Scott Brown election was a testimonial to the power of misinformation. His Honor needs to look at NY-26 and other 2011 elections to better understand what America thinks of today's Republican Party. They are in the process of destroying themselves from the inside out.

    July 12, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. John

    I would trust anybody name KOCH ,they are the same two brother that buying the TEA PARTY. And no they shouldn't vote to put a Republican In New York special election Sept 13.

    July 12, 2011 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Jake

    Why are these traitors putting the interests of Israel ahead of those of the United States?

    July 12, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Len Smith

    The Mayor must be losing his mind to old age. It just does not sound like someone who has always been a good Democrat. And, the President has been more than helpful in trying to help Israel.

    July 12, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. SaintM

    Why is this fool weighing in anyway. He is politically irrelevant. Memo to Koch: NY is pretty much a blue state, so don't hold your breath for a republican–or maybe you should–then we won't have to listen to your dumb comments anymore.

    July 12, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Expressing outrage over President Barack Obama's views on Israel, Koch warned in an interview that the Sept. 13 special election to replace Weiner could become a bellwether on the president's recent calls for Israel to return to its 1967 borders with land swaps.
    --------------
    Mr. Mayor, you must be upset with Bebe, too, because he said the same thing to the US Congress. That is a *negotiating* position, not a living arrangement. It is a position that forces the other side to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. Stop the misinformation, Ed.

    July 12, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    For those who do not know. His Honor, Mayor Ed Koch, carries significant influence with the jewish middle class and seniors. Let me put it this way. Can any of you name an individual in the US who has more influence over Jewish voters? As Mayor of NYC, I believe that is the most significant elected office in the US held by someone of the Jewish faith.

    July 12, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Koch has always been a gadfly, and he contradicted himself in his statement when he noted the GOP candidate was terrible on virutally every issue ( in his opinion) but Israel. His statements, while amusing, are like quoting Lowell Weicker on the state of the GOP: not a good barometer of either the Democratic party, NY, or the country as a whole. If Bob Turner could only get 40% in a GOP year, he won't break 33% in a year when Ryan's Medicare Plan caused the loss of NY-26
    (my district) to the Democrats.

    July 12, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |