Opinion: NY-9 Outcome Should tell Republicans to Target Russian-Americans

My mom is a Republican poll worker in Brooklyn.

She worked yesterday but not in the contentiously battled district of NY-9. She spent all day fending off pissed-off Russians who wanted to vote for Turner, accused poll workers of voter fraud because Turner wasn't on the ballot and threatened to call their lawyers over this miscarriage of justice.

She had to explain again and again that Turner wasn't running in their district. She explained over and over that she wasn't trying to deny them the right to vote for the Republican, that she is a Republican, that she'd love to provide them with the opportunity to vote for Turner but couldn't.

"Shto tibye zhalka?" they asked (translated, essentially, as: How does it hurt you to let us vote for our guy) so she ended up handing out ballots where people crossed out the candidates running and wrote in Turner. Russians, you can't stop 'em.

I don't know what turned the tide so strongly toward Turner and against Weprin. Maybe it was Israel. Maybe it was gay marriage. Maybe it was, as a friend of mine in NY-9 pointed out, that Weprin is a buffoon.

But I will say that it's truly impressive how the Turner side energized people and pulled off this election. Russians are apathetic voters, at best, and that they were so motivated to vote for Turner is amazing.

Republicans in Brooklyn would be smart to capitalize on this. Russians in America are natural conservatives. They lived under Communism, they've seen liberalism taken to its natural conclusion. There has been very little outreach from the Republican party to the Russian community in Brooklyn. Yesterday should change that.

Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 BabyShe can be followed on Twitter.