Opinion Brief

Dems might lose Anthony Weiner's seat: Blame Obama?

A Republican political newbie is poised to pull off a major upset in a New York congressional district that's been in Democratic hands since 1923

Democrats have gone into panic mode in the New York race to replace disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner. Little-known Republican businessman Bob Turner has surged into a polling lead over Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin ahead of Tuesday's special election. No Republican has represented the heavily Democratic NY-09 district (comprising parts of Brooklyn and Queens) since 1923, and spooked Democrats are now pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into negative ads against Turner in a bid to hang onto the district. Still, some Democratic insiders fret that President Obama's declining popularity is driving voters to the Republican Turner, who has never held political office, and turning the Democrat into an underdog. Is Obama really to blame?

Yes. This is a clear rebuke of Obama: Turner is "riding the anti-politician wave," says Stephen Meister in the New York Post. And Weprin is a career politician "who does the bidding of the Democratic machine." It's Obama who runs that machine, and the president's "radically anti-Israel stance" and abysmal performance on the economy are turning off the once reliably Democratic Jewish voters who make up a third of NY-09.
"Jewish right turn?"

No. Weprin's wounds are largely self-inflicted: Weprin "has been hurt by his lack of charisma," say Thomas Kaplan and Kate Taylor in The New York Times, and his own "weak campaign." He's made plenty of costly gaffes — such as backing out of a debate, and guessing that the national debt was just $4 trillion. (It's actually north of $14 trillion.) Weprin, an Orthodox Jew, has also been hurt by his support of same-sex marriage, which may be driving Jewish voters into Turner's camp.
"Fearing loss of Weiner's seat, Democrats make a late push"

Regardless, this is bad for Democrats: If Weprin loses, he and Obama will share the blame, says David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo. NY-09 isn't one of New York City's "hardcore Democratic havens" — while Democrats have a 3-to-1 advantage in registered voters, Obama only got 55 percent of the vote there in 2008. But there's no denying this race is a bellwether: "A loss here would paint a very bleak picture for Democrats going into 2012."
"A closer look at NY-09"

Recommended

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
Punitive politics?

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee

FBI investigating George Santos' role in dog fundraising scheme
George Santos.
'the big guys finally picked it up'

FBI investigating George Santos' role in dog fundraising scheme

Thousands mourn as Tyre Nichols is laid to rest in Memphis
Rev. Al Sharpton and Vice President Kamala Harris
Rest in peace

Thousands mourn as Tyre Nichols is laid to rest in Memphis

College Board appeases conservatives over AP African American studies
AP African American Studies textbooks
Advanced appeasement?

College Board appeases conservatives over AP African American studies

Most Popular

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo
Briefing

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

Linda Ronstadt is the Kate Bush of 2023 thanks to The Last of Us
Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in The Last of Us
running up that hill

Linda Ronstadt is the Kate Bush of 2023 thanks to The Last of Us

The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.
Briefing

The Adani Group scandal, explained