Washington (CNN) - On the day Democrats hope to win a special election in ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner's district, several Democratic members of Congress from New York showed their support Tuesday for candidate David Weprin.
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said both candidates would be strong supporters of Israel, a crucial position in perhaps the strongest Jewish district in the country. But with the Democrat, Schumer said, "you're going to get someone who's going fight to preserve Medicare and Social Security, in addition."
Weprin, despite being an Orthodox Jew, has struggled to shore up Jewish support in the Brooklyn/Queens district. As a state assemblyman, he drew criticism in the community for voting to pass the same-sex marriage bill in New York.
Meanwhile, his Republican opponent Bob Turner, with the help of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, has rallied to turn the campaign into a referendum on President Barack Obama's position on Israel's future borders.
Koch crossed party lines to endorse Turner, hoping to send a message to the White House.
But Schumer, who once represented the same district as a congressman, said he's hopeful that the president's push for jobs will bring Democratic voters home.
"We'll see tonight," Schumer said.
But he also seemed to lower expectations. While he used to represent the same district, it changed after a 2000 redistricting process to what Schumer called one of the most conservative in the city, despite having a 3 to 1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans and a long history of Democratic elected officials.
"President Obama won the district by much less than he won the rest of New York City," Schumer said. "And so, to make the argument that this is a very liberal district and it's a close race, it's just not what the district has been."
The House's second ranking Democrat Steny Hoyer admitted the special election in New York is "closer than we would like to have it be, closer than anybody thought it would be."
While he said he didn't believe the election results would be a direct statement on the president, the Maryland Democrat conceded that it will likely be interpreted as one.
New York Rep. Eliot Engel defended the Democratic candidate's stance on Israel said he's done a robo call vouching for Weprin as a strong supporter of pro-Israel policies.
But the fact this was an issue, Engel said, might serve as "a wake up to call" to the Obama Administration.
New York Rep. Nita Lowey also stood by Weprin, saying that he's an Orthodox Jew and would be "absolutely" committed to Israel.
Both Engel and Lowey said there is bipartisan support in Congress to vote to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Democrats weren't the only ones weighing on the election. House Speaker John Boehner also spoke Tuesday, seemingly lowering expectations for the GOP, as well.
"Listen, we've got great candidate in New York, but this is a very serious Democrat district," Boehner said, adding that it's been represented by Weiner, Schumer and former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.
"This is not a district that Republicans have any right to believe that we can win, but we do have a good candidate, I think it will be a good race, and hope springs eternal," Boehner said. Polls close at 9 p.m. in New York's 9th Congressional District.
- CNN's Ashley Killough, Deirdre Walsh, and Paul Courson contributed to this report.