Ed Koch backs Republican in Weiner's old district
July 25th, 2011
06:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Ed Koch backs Republican in Weiner's old district

(CNN) - As the special election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner heats up in Brooklyn and Queens, the Republican candidate, Bob Turner, received a ringing endorsement Monday from one of the Empire State's top Democrats.

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch announced his support Monday for Turner amid his hopes that the special election in the 9th congressional district, a strongly Jewish area, will become a referendum on President Barack Obama's policies on Israel.

In his anger over the president's May Mideast speech, which recommended that a peace solution include a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders with land swaps, Koch said in a statement Monday that Obama is "willing to throw [Israel] under the bus" and end relations with the state.

"The election of Bob Turner in a normally safe Democratic district running against President Obama's position on Israel...would send a message to his own party leadership as well as to President Obama," Koch said in a statement Monday.

The former mayor has repeatedly referenced the 2010 election of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, where a Republican captured a long held Democratic seat, as a move that got Obama's attention. And he hopes to see the same effect happen in NY-9 come Election Day on Sept. 13.

"Many in politics think my endorsement of Bob Turner is a quixotic effort – tilting at windmills" Koch said. "I do not."

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.

Koch hinted earlier in July he might endorse Turner, but only if the Republican went against his own party and pledged to avoid cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

The idea seemed unlikely, as Turner, who ran as a tea party-backed candidate against Weiner in 2010, is known as a favorite among fiscal conservatives.

But Turner surprised many last week when he said he would oppose Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan, which would include spending cuts and privatization of certain entitlement programs.

Turner's opposition to the Ryan plan then gave Koch the go-ahead to endorse the Republican.

While the campaign acknowledged Turner had made the decision to oppose the Ryan budget plan, a promised statement articulating why has not been provided following several days of requests.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by three to one in the district, and political analysts say Turner will have to show some resistance to his own party in order to appeal to independents.

"I think to win that district, he's got to oppose the Ryan plan because that district is not an arch-conservative, tea party voting district," said Doug Muzzio, a public affairs professor at Baruch College-CUNY. "If he placed a hard line tea party agenda, he ain't going to win."

While the Democrats have nominated an orthodox Jew, David Weprin, as their candidate, Koch said another Democratic win in the traditionally blue seat would fail to get the point across to Obama.

"David Weprin could not be an effective messenger," Koch said. "His election would be viewed by President Obama as simply that of another Democrat elected to office in what is one of the largest Jewish constituencies in the nation…"

In a statement, Weprin's campaign manager, Jake Dilemani, called Turner an "extremist Republican" and pointed to a June 8 National Review op-ed where Turner said he would have worked to cut the federal budget by 30 to 35 percent if he won the seat in 2010.

"Voters won't endorse that," Dilemani said.

But as the election nears, Turner said he'll need support from Democrats like Koch.

"I cannot win this race without the added support of Democrats and independents, so the Mayor's recognition of my independence and support for Israel is particularly meaningful to my campaign, both practically and symbolically," Turner said in a statement Monday.

Filed under: Anthony Weiner • Ed Koch • New York
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Embarrased Conservative

    Some Democrat this guy is.

    July 25, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. S.positive

    Koch, the president like everyone who isnt stupid has Isreals back so stop your losing game as it will not prevail. Just another deception to make some news

    July 25, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |

    Ed Koch is an old fool that is apparently more of an Israeli than he is American.

    Good riddance to him. If he is so full of himself as to think he can swing that Congressional district RED then he is delusional and suffering from Alzhimers.

    July 25, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Martha in CF

    If a Redumblican is voted in there, there is no hope for this country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sad

    July 25, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. John

    Voting for a Republican Is like cutting your own throat Or getting knife In the Back. i will never vote for a Republican again. They don't listen to the American People and they only worry about the RICH AND BIG BUSINESS. They don't care about the working class of American People at all. And the Tea Party Is worst. They will never get my vote again, I'M feed up with all there LIE and now the refuse to Compromise on anything. They are trying to make president Obama look bad and taking American down to. What American People need to do Is fired very republican In congress and most in the Senate.

    July 25, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. MARIO Forzani

    Koch is old and loosing his mind. Old timers like Koch, have been corrupted by power, and need to be put out to pasture.

    July 25, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    President Obama received a very warm welcome from one of the largest Jewish groups in the nation when he adressed them a month or so ago. CNN already reported that Obama still very high support among the Jews here. I have no idea want Koch's gripe is but so far it is not having much effect. Perhaps he thinks a far right evangelical Christian candidate would be far better than the president. Oye ve!

    July 25, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. zb

    This guy (Koch) flipped over to the dark side or more accurately the Republican Party long ago (anything to get attention for himself. What Obama is saying is exactly what countless presidents before have said. And besides supporting a Republican is like throwing everyone in this country under a bus.

    July 25, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. Republican Robber Baron

    Poor man is getting quite senile. The Obama admin policy is exactly the same as every other previous administration which is to respect the old borders and give the Palestinians back some land.

    July 25, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  10. AntiPalinAlaskan

    Well, this reminds us, once again, of why New Yorkers finally had the good sense to vote Ed Koch out of the mayor's office. If only they'd done the sensible thing and chosen Percy Sutton, Bella Abzug or Mario Cuomo as mayor in 1977, the Big Apple would have avoided years of embarrassment.

    July 25, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Time for Ed to take his nap or is he just talking crazy in his sleep.

    July 25, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. C. Howe Yulikit

    Ed Koch was a terrible mayor and an even worse ex-mayor. No one cares what he has to say.

    July 25, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  13. Rick

    Of course, a Koch would support a Weiner! The "boys" have to stick together. As if Koch's opinions matter at all! Teddy Rosevelt's opinion, I'd be interested in.

    July 25, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |