Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Weiner seat taken by GOP. Is this a preview of 2012?

Bob Turner on Election Night, Photo from AP

On Wednesday Sept 14th, 2011 Republicans won ex-congressman Anthony Weiner's congressional seat.  Politcal novice Bob Turner (R) defeated assemblyman David Weprin (D) today in NY's 9th Congressional district, a heavily democratic section of NY held by democrats for the last 90 years.

Wednesday's special election was held due to Anthony Weiner's resignation from office this past summer following a scandal over lewd pictures and texts sent to followers of his twitter account.  

Photo of Front Page of NY Post
Republican see the win as possible early sign of a 2012 election cycle referendum on the economic policies of the Obama administration

"The district is overwhelmingly democratic by a ratio of 3 to 1 and is counting on the strength of unions and political organizations to bring out the vote."(Devlin Barrett - WSJ Sept 13th).

Turner tapped into the emotions and frustrations of the electorate pledging to be a vote against "Job Killing" Obama administration policies.  Voters frustrated with high unemployment, high taxes, and the threat of more on the way took their frustrations out on the candidate that represented the policies of the Obama Administration and either stayed home or turned out to vote for the republican.

Democrats spent heavily on campaigning and advertising in the district, to the tune of $500,000 this year.  The significant investment in this district highlights this races' importance to the DCCC.  Consider the talking points that will now be published in the media "... Dissatisfaction with Obama turns Blue Disctrict to Red, Democrats up for election in 2012 begin to distance themselves from Obama."  The advertising, heavily touting Weprins support of the adminisrations policies, is seen as possibly hurting Weprin by solidly connecting him to the Obama Administration.

To add to the uphill climb Weprin had to defend his stance and support for Gay Marriage. New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D) publicly did not support fellow Orthodox Assemblyman David Weprin in the special election due to Weprins endorsement of Gay Marriage law, which is seen to have cost him Jewish votes in a heavily Jewish district.

Democratic Party leaders attempted to downplay the loss by spinning facts. DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz suggested to the media that the district was difficult for a democrat to win.  Senator Chuck Shumer, who held the seat prior to to Anthony Weiner suggested the district is heavily conservative leaning.  Yet the district holds a 3 to 1 ratio of democrat to republican voters and has not elected a republican since the early 1930's.

So is this a preview of 2012?  It is hard to tell, but you can be sure donors will now be questioning democratic party leaders over the loss, which until this summer seemed unimaginable.  Will it matter in the long run?  NY is scheduled to loose two house seats to redistricting in November.  NY-9 is expected to be one of them so the GOP win will be short lived.  However the GOP will use the win as a "Momentum Building" event.  If people are this upset in democratic stronghold over the economy then the democrats have their work cut out for them to hold onto their other seats in 2012.

Dems to Spend $500,000 in NY-9
Special Election Results - Huffington Post 
Obama Rebuke in NY-9 - Fox News 
Washington Post Article on NY-9

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