Bob Turner 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – Former cable television executive Republican Bob Turner beat his
Democratic opponent David Weprin in a special congressional election in New York
Tuesday in what many called a referendum on US President Barack Obama’s
administration on both fiscal and foreign policy issues.
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Congressional District, composed of sections of Brooklyn and Queens, had a
special election to replace the disgraced former Democratic congressman Anthony
Weiner, who stepped down from his position in June after a “sexting”
The district, well known for being a Democratic stronghold, was
captured by the Republicans after their successful efforts to reframe the race
as being an opportunity to “send a message” to Washington – and to tap into
Jewish discontent with the US president’s Middle East policies.
national Republicans immediately stated that Turner’s election was a shot across
the bow in preparation for next year’s presidential race, others, including
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said the
proverbial Jewish vote – particularly Orthodox Jews – in the district was too
high, rendering this particular election unfit as a sample of what would come on
a nationwide level.
“In this district, there is a large number of people
who went to the polls tonight who didn’t support the president to begin with and
don’t support Democrats – and it’s nothing more than that,” she told The New
While Weprin is an observant Jew and Israel supporter,
Turner, a Roman Catholic, criticized Obama on his Israel stance at every
In a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post
the election, Turner vehemently underlined his unconditional support of the
Jewish state, and his acknowledgment that that stance would be pivotal in the
“The Jewish vote will be decisive, and that vote, I believe, will
be driven mostly by Israel,” Turner said.
In an e-mail to the Post
the election Republicans Abroad in Israel co-chairman Marc Zell wrote that such projections had proven correct, and said his
organization played “a central role” in focusing the district’s Jewish voters on
Middle East foreign policy in its preelection campaign efforts.
organization had facilitated connections between Republican- American Israelis
and voters in the district.
“Jewish voters in New York’s 9th
Congressional District were able to see the issues as we here in Israel see
them,” Zell said.
“It is no accident that US Jews vote overwhelmingly
Republican after moving to Israel.
When a voter in a particular district
hears a perspective on an issue from voters abroad, it is much more powerful
than any mailer or phone call from a special interest or even public figure, as
the voter understands that the perspective they are hearing is genuinely coming
from a concerned voter – one who had to go through certain obstacles just to be
engaged in the election and to have their voice heard.
the sacrifice and commitment of voters from abroad to not only vote but to weigh
in on messaging.
This raises the perceived seriousness of the
issues/election and motivates the voter in district to become more engaged,”
“In this specific case, direct contact from Americans Abroad
and the velocity of English [and Hebrew] language media generated in English on
the race, but read in district had a profound impact on the high stakes that
this race represented.
“While Jewish voters are intelligent and
discriminating, there is no rational reason for US Jews to vote reflexively for
the Democrats as they have in the past,” Zell continued.
special election, Jewish voters supported the Republican candidate by a clear,
but not massive majority. That vote evidences a maturity of judgment as opposed
to robotic partisanship.
“Thus, unlike some other minorities who
instinctively vote for the candidate of their race or religion, irrespective of
whether they are the best candidate,” Zell concluded, “the Jews in NY-9 voted on
principle and ignored our common religion with Mr. Weprin to support the
candidate who will support Israel most effectively.”