Political science professor Chris Malone offers insight in three news articles on New York’s 9th Congressional District and former Rep. Anthony Weiner who resigned from his seat earlier this year after scandal brought down his political career.
His seat has now gone to Republican Bob Turner, the Springer show creator and no stranger to scandal.
From the Los Angeles Times:
“The New York race was the most recent and consequential reminder of how Democrats’ political fortunes have plummeted since spring. In May, Democrat Kathy Hochul — buoyed by voter discontent with Republicans’ attempts to transform Medicare into a voucher system, as well as by Obama’s job-approval boost after U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden — seized a staunchly Republican district in a special election in upstate New York.
Since then, however, Obama’s approval ratings have waned amid the sputtering economy and a summer-long tussle over the national debt. Turner, 70, who entered the race as a long shot, managed to turn the election into a referendum on Obama.
“I think there are many people in this district that are unhappy with [Obama’s] positions,” Turner said in an interview before the election results were known. “Economics and jobs are the overriding issue[s] here.”
The district, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens, “has always been seen as sort of the epicenter of the Jewish vote in New York City,” said Christopher Malone, professor of political science at Pace University. “So Israel is always in the background.”
In an article on PolitiFact.com Malone said anecdotal evidence is strong that Obama Democrats in 2008 have since abandoned ship and voted for Bob Turner in 2011.
“There were many voters that came out to vote against Obama that probably have stayed home in the past because they knew their vote was wasted (for example, in 2008 when McCain was sure to lose New York state),” Malone said. “On the other hand, it is also clear that many Democrats who supported Obama have become disenchanted with him and either stayed home or switched their vote and went with Turner. I can’t give you figures right now because I’ve not seen exit polls. But this is what I’ve seen leading up to the race from conversations with people on the ground and from other reports.”
And from The Republic in Columbus Indiana:
The district, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens, “has always been seen as sort of the epicenter of the Jewish vote in New York City,” said Chris Malone, professor of political science at Pace University. “So Israel is always in the background.”
But the Siena poll shows that just 7 percent of voters consider Israel the top factor in the race. Sixty percent listed a candidates’ stance on Social Security, Medicare, or economic recovery as top factors in their choice.
Turner’s recent and quick climb awoke a Democratic apparatus known for its ability to turn out votes in the district, where Democrats outnumber Republicans almost three to one.
“Democrats need to keep this seat just to save face,” Malone said. “Not only is the money flowing, but all of these elected (Democratic) officials, they’re all asking their staff members if they could take time out to go campaign for Weprin.”
Democrats have mobilized 1,000 volunteers to knock on doors and work the phones on Election Day, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested about $500,000 on a last-minute advertising campaign. Majority PAC, a Democratic “super PAC,” has spent at least $100,000 to run its own ad blasting Turner for his tea party ties.
That’s a lot of money in a race where the candidates had raised $654,755 combined by late August.
Turner’s campaign got a small boost from the National Organization for Marriage. The group pledged to spend $75,000 to oppose Weprin, who voted in favor of the bill that legalized same-sex marriage in New York earlier this year.
But the national Republican Party groups had yet to spend significantly on the race, suggesting that the party might have less faith in Turner than his late boost in the polls would suggest. Even a close race — Turner won just 39 percent of the vote in his run against Weiner in 2010 — would be enough to embarrass the Democrats.
“Even if Turner comes up short, it’s sort of a feather in the cap of the Republican Party,” Malone said.