Wednesday, September 07, 2011
Check out the up-beat, if not musically derivative, campaign spot from the Weprin campaign. It'll be running through Election Day next week. According to the Weprin campaign:
The ad prominently features David’s endorsement by the New York Times, which states that David “has far more expertise and fiscal rationality” than his opponent, and points out that David “has promoted education and civil rights and fought to protect senior citizens”.
The ad also notes that the Times warned against Bob Turner’s Tea Party budget ideas, specifically that “Turner would force a reduction in benefits for those on Social Security and Medicare”. A recent poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group found that when voters are informed about the New York Times endorsement, David Weprin’s lead increases to 23 points over his opponent.
Wednesday, September 07, 2011
I managed to get on the wrong bus on Cross Bay Boulevard. Figuring I’d save myself a few minutes in the rain, I jumped on at 157th Street, and hit the button to get off across from the Cross Bay Diner at 161st Street.
Ten minutes later I was at the foot of the Cross Bay Bridge, giving Chris Hoeppner -- the Socialist Workers Party candidate in the congressional race to replace Anthony Weiner -- bad directions. He finally found me, a half hour late and soaked.
I apologized for the rigmarole, but Hoeppner skipped quickly past the $3.25 in tolls he just paid, each way, on the bridge. We were on a tight schedule; he had a debate to attend.
“I grew up in Woodside,” Hoeppner said as we drove through the rain. “I’ve been involved in politics for 40 years.”
The windows fogged up — it was an older car with a barely working defroster — bringing visibility in the downpour to a dangerous low. Hoeppner didn’t seem to notice as he started firing away at the absurdness he sees in the race. His voice pinched emphatically as he broke down how “they”—the Democrats and Republicans—fail working people.
Tuesday, September 06, 2011
Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin are pulling out all sorts of endorsements as the campaign to replace Anthony Weiner in New York's 9th Congressional District.
Today US Senator Charles Schumer toured senior homes with Weprin, discussing the threat they say Turner poses to seniors.
"David has the values, the experience and the vision we need in Washington," Schumer was quoted saying in a statement. "We can count on David to fight against the Republican plan to gut Medicare and Social Security. We can count on David to fight for middle-class families in Brooklyn and Queens and to focus on getting people back to work."
Meanwhile Turner had arguably his biggest day of endorsements yet. Earlier he stood with former -- and over-before-it-started candidate for president -- Governor George Pataki, as the governor lent his endorsement.
"Our federal debt threatens the very future of America as we know it, and Bob Turner has the courage to do something about it," Pataki said in a statement. "He isn't just fighting to preserve Social Security and Medicare for our senior citizens, he's fighting to make sure those programs are there for our children and grandchildren. Bob Turner has the real-world business experience we need in Congress, and I strongly endorse him."
Turner also picked up the endorsement of the New York Post today. The Daily News had already backed Turner, meaning he's captured the lucrative tabloid endorsement market.
Perhaps most importantly -- though not surprisingly -- the Turner campaign announced Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind will give Turner his endorsement tomorrow. Hikind, who represents a heavily Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn, has indicated he would not support his colleague in the assembly over, among other things, his vote for same-sex marriage.
Friday, September 02, 2011
The race in the 9th Congressional District in Queens becomes more acerbic by the day, as the campaigns enter the final two weeks of this special election. The campaign of Republican Bob Turner has reportedly accused his opponent, Democrat David Weprin, of spying on his campaign. This, shortly after a dismal fundraising report: Turner’s yield so far—$203,923—was less than half of Weprin’s reported $550,000.
Meanwhile, the Weprin campaign has sent an actual
clown magician out to mock Turner’s pledge to cut a third of the Federal budget while protecting Social Security and Medicare. Turner started clarifying earlier statements, and, in at least one interview, suggested these programs could be on the long-term chopping block.
Turner’s camp has continued its push of equating Weprin to President Obama. The move appears to be paying off, as Weprin’s statements keep moving further away from supporting the president or the big ticket items like health care reform.
The race is also moving further away from reality and relevance. Both campaigns are turning into spectacle machines. Neither gives voters much more than cardboard cutouts of their opponents, next to which their lackluster candidates look deceptively real.
Look at what’s NOT being talked about.
Friday, September 02, 2011
From the press announcement from the Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group:
If the upcoming special election for Congress in New York’s Ninth District was held today, Democrat David Weprin would defeat Republican Bob Turner and hold the seat for his party, according to our latest poll of 400 likely special election voters in the district. The poll was conducted August 30-31, 2011 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9%.
Weprin Leading and Nearing Majority Support
Democrat David Weprin currently leads Republican Bob Turner by an eight-point margin, 47% to 39%, with 14% still undecided in the special election contest.
Weprin Ahead Despite Being Less Known
Turner is familiar to 66% of voters in the district thanks to his previous run for the seat, with 40% rating him favorably and 26% unfavorably. Weprin is familiar to fewer voters (59%), with 35% rating him favorably and 24% unfavorably.
District Prefers Democrat as Representative
By a wide, 14-point margin, voters here prefer a generic Democratic candidate for Congress (46%) over a generic Republican candidate (32%).
This poll follows up from the Republican polling released yesterday that showed the race tied. National Democratic congressional spokesperson Josh Schwerin had this to say:
This poll confirms what we always knew, voters are rejecting Bob Turner’s radical agenda of cutting Medicare and Social Security and leaving 9/11 volunteers out in the cold, while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Democratic candidate David Weprin's campaign says his campaign anticipates reaching the $550,000 mark before the filing deadline tonight. They say that's more than three times what the Turner campaign has raised.
“Our message about protecting middle class families and fighting for Medicare and Social Security is clearly resonating with voters,” Weprin said in a statement. “I’m very grateful for this outpouring of financial support, which will help me bring this critical fight to Washington. I intend to ride this momentum all the way to victory on September 13th.”
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
- The Jewish Voice has endorsed Republican for Congress in the 9th District:
For New Yorkers in the 9th Congressional District, and for those who have grown restive over the intrusion of the "nanny state" in the affairs of their daily lives, the decision on September 13 couldn't be clearer. Political change is desperately needed and we, the people, are charged with chartering our own course, of becoming masters of our own fate, and captains of our own ship. Let's send a bold message to President Obama by electing Bob Turner to Congress and saying "no" to more of the same.
- The New York Times has endorsed his opponent, Democrat David Weprin:
When Representative Anthony Weiner resigned in disgrace in June, he left his diverse district without a voice in the House of Representatives. On Sept. 13, voters in that Queens and Brooklyn district can choose his replacement.
Their options — chosen, unfortunately, by the parties’ leaders instead of in open primaries — are Assemblyman David Weprin, a Democrat, and Bob Turner, a Republican and former communications executive. The choice is clear: Mr. Weprin would represent the district with far more expertise, sensitivity and fiscal rationality.
- So did the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. PBA president Patrick J. Lynch:
We know we can trust David Weprin to fight to protect the Medicare and Social Security benefits working families rely on, and his background in finance and his service as the chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee will be of great value during these difficult financial times. David has been an effective and honest public servant who will represent us well in Congress. The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is proud to endorse David Weprin, a true friend of law enforcement, for the United States Congres .
- Assembly hopeful Jesus Gonzalez got a boost in his three-way race out in Brooklyn when the Albany-reform focused New Roosevelt Initiative endorsed him today. New Roosevelt's founder Bill Samuels:
Bosses love elections without opponents, but they’re bad for democracy and bad for New York. Residents of the 54th are lucky that a bright, dedicated reformer like Jesus Gonzalez, a Democrat who is running on the Working Families Party (WFP) line has stepped forward to challenge this autocracy. The system is broken, disgraceful and must be changed. I applaud the valiant efforts of Gonzalez and WFP in their continued efforts to reform Brooklyn politics by letting voters have a real choice and that is why I fully support Gonzalez’s candidacy.
- Another Assembly hopeful, Phil Goldfeder, announced United Federation of Teachers' President Michael Mulgrew will endorse his campaign tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Assemblyman David Weprin caught serious flak from both his opponent and the media yesterday when he canceled on a long-standing debate date in Middle Village. The Turner campaign has been gleefully poking Weprin for dodging the debate. They sent over a volunteer who offered to drive Weprin through the (non) chaos of Queens post-Irene after the assemblyman’s campaign cited “logistical” issues created by the storm in why he wouldn’t be attending.
How has the Weprin campaign responded to the turmoil? They issued yet another endorsement, this time from United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1500.
The bad press and anger the decision Weprin made not to attend the debate last night doesn’t change the calculus for the race overall. The reality is the district is still registered in favor of Democrats 3-to-1 and for the Weprin campaign, stacking up union and civic endorsements will do more to secure a win than any debate.
“They’re backing David because they know they can trust him to support Medicare and Social Security when he gets to congress,” said Elizabeth Kerr of the latest union endorsement. “There are plenty of opportunities for voters to see the two candidates debate. But what doesn’t change are the issues they care about…We’re talking about issues voters care about.”
For the Turner campaign, every opportunity to get their candidate’s name on television or in the newspaper is a chance to reach their target voter: angry at what’s going on in Washington and looking for a way to register it. Weprin dodging a pre-scheduled debate provided the perfect chance to be indignant and sensational.
But don’t expect the Weprin campaign to start responding. They’ll be at the debate tomorrow, and will continue to roll out endorsements. They see the path to victory not in battling headlines, but in boots on the ground.
Monday, August 29, 2011
The Weprin campaign just sent out this statement regarding tonight's debate:
The hurricane caused major logistical and scheduling problems for the campaign, and as a result, David is not able to make the debate this evening.
The Juniper Park Civic association was scheduled to host a debate between David Weprin and Bob Turner, the Democratic and Republican candidates running for the 9th Congressional District.
But now the debate organizer, Bob Holden, says the Weprin campaign has pulled out. And he's none too pleased.
"To say that we’re angry is an understatement,” Holden said over the phone. He says the campaign has known about the event tonight since July, but both he and the events cosponsor, the Queens Times Newsweekly, got the feeling Weprin was getting cold feet. Holdent said that the debate in Kew Gardens two weeks ago spooked Weprin, and had promised to run things differenently.
"I covered all the bases. Ive been doing this for thirty years," he said."I know how to run a debate.” Juniper Park hosted a debate between Turner and former congressman Anthony Weiner during last year's debate.
"If anybody should not want to debate it should be Turner, he’ a new comer to this," Holden said. "David has experience.”
Apparently the Times Newsweekly called late last night to say Weprin was canceling. When Holden confronted the campaign, he was told "logistics" would keep the assemblyman from attending, partly because campaign staff had "too much going on."
"When didn’t David call me himself," Holden asked. He said that, instead of preparing for the hurricane, he'd been working on the details of the debate since last week. "I'm not spending time with my family, doing what I should be doing protecting my house," he said.
"As of now he’s lost my vote,” Holden said of Weprin.
Calls to the assemblyman's campaign have not been returned.
Friday, August 26, 2011
The good folks over at the Brian Lehrer Show were kind enough to have me on to discuss the debate on Monday between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin in Queens which I wrote about here. At the top, Brian makes a comment about the possibility of Turner winning, and we discuss it a bit at the end. What should be noted, however, is that there's been reports that internal Republican polling suggest the race is closer than Siena projected earlier this month.
I've also been told that, nationally, Republicans see only a narrow path of victory. But, like I mention in the segment, the big unknown at this point is how motivated Democratic voters are to come out on September 13 for Weprin.
Friday, August 26, 2011
In keeping with their central campaign theme, Republican Bob Turner has sent out a mailer targeting President Obama's policies, and claiming his Democratic opponent is a carbon copy of the president.
Friday, August 26, 2011
The Democrat's national congressional committee is hitting Republican Bob Turner on his comments to the the New York Post editorial board today. As we reported earlier this week, Turner's position on Federal spending and entitlement programs were at odds with one another. But, according to the Post, Turner is indicating cutting a third of the Federal budget could include future changes to Social Security and Medicare:
Turner pledged to push the federal government to rein in the deficit even if that means touching the “third rail” of politics -- cutting spending on entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security that have strong and active political constituencies.
Turner said he would protect people 55 and older by exempting them from an overhaul of the two federal entitlement programs.
Asked if the eligibility age should be raised for people under 55, Turner said, “That’s one of the easy ones.”
He said an increase in Medicare co-payments also has to be considered.
DCCC is claiming this shows Turner is flip-flopping on this issue.
“Bob Turner is just admitting what we already knew – his plan is to cut Medicare and Social Security, forcing seniors to pay more for their health care while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires,” said Josh Schwerin, a DCCC spokesperson said in a statement. “Earlier this week, Bob Turner left Ground Zero volunteers out in the cold, and now he wants to do the same to seniors. New Yorkers simply can’t afford Bob Turner’s extremist Tea Party policies.”
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
But do their claims hold water?
Over the course of the rowdy hour-and-a-half long debate in Queens on Monday, Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin were asked what scared them most about their opponents.
Weprin began, “I’m very scared of his Tea Party philosophy and his…” The chorus of boos forced him to stop. He continued, “I’m sorry you’re having trouble with the truth. ‘Cut, cut, cut—cut the budget 35 percent and not consider any taxes’…” He was interrupted again by someone shouting, “Stop the spending” to a round of cheers. “And I’m scared of those extreme views even by some of his supporters in the audience.”
“Mr. Weprin is tainted by a long career in politics,” Turner said when he took the mike, silence punctuating his pause between sentences. “He’s part of the system. And that’s why he has got to go.”
With just a few weeks before the election to decide who will succeed Anthony Weiner as the congressman from the 9th Congressional District, the candidates have been going head-to-head in debates this week. A televised debate was taped yesterday, and another live debate was scheduled in the district last night.
Even before the debate, both sides have painted each other as caricatures. One the Obama-loving corrupt career politician who leaves a trail of questionable ethics behind him as he clambers for higher office. The other an obstructionist, dangerous Tea Partier bent on destroying the social safety net that so many in the district count on. In truth, they’re not so much running against each other as test driving the 2012 arguments their respective parties hope will carry them to the White House and into control of Congress.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
While the message was directed at Democratic Assemblyman and congressional candidate David Weprin, we couldn't help but feel also admonished by the sternness of the Turner campaign in this new press release. To be fair to Weprin, the offense in question actually came from the national Democratic Party, but that's no excuse!
"Today's earthquake frightened a lot of New Yorkers, including children and seniors citizens who remain deeply unsettled from the tremors," said Turner campaign spokesman William O'Reilly. "Using a terrifying incident like an earthquake - an hour after it occurred - as a political punch line is highly inappropriate. We would ask that Mr. Weprin use better judgment in the remaining days of this campaign." [Emphasis added.]
To those children and seniors we may have offended, we apologize. If David Weprin did the same, he'll have to tell you sorry himself.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Late yesterday morning I received this in an email about a protest today.
FURIOUS NEW YORK CITY FIREFIGHTERS AND OFFICERS AND 9/11 FAMILY MEMBERS WILL DEMAND THAT NO TAXPAYER MONEY GO IN TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF GROUND ZERO MOSQUE AT A PRESS CONFERENCE ON MONDAY, AUGUST 22ND AT 12 NOON OUTSIDE ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD AT THE CORNER OF CHURCH AND VESEY STREETS IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN.
The funds in question were part of a $17 million Federal block grant the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation received. Last September LMDC announced it was accepting applications from "not-for-profit and government organizations engaged in cultural or community programs or projects that benefit the residents, workers, and communities of Lower Manhattan."
In November 2010, Park51 announced it was applying for a portion of the funds on its website:
Park51 has applied for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation grant which would in part fund social service programs for all the residents of Lower Manhattan such as domestic violence prevention, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services.
There were a few notes in the press at the time. As LMDC has not official announced who will be receiving the funds, there isn't any specific, recent event that might trigger renewed interest in the subject. Except. of course, for Republican Bob Turner's congressional race out in Queens.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Another day, another endorsement. This time it's a statewide official backing Assemblyman David Weprin's campaign in the 9th Congressional District. Thomas DiNapoli is the latest Democratic elected official to come out in support of Weprin, following up on US Senator Charles Schumer's endorsement announcement yesterday.
“With our nation facing some of the greatest fiscal challenges in a generation, we need David Weprin’s financial and budgeting experience in Congress,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “I know David Weprin and I trust David Weprin. He is ready to make the tough decisions it will take to keep our fiscal house in order while protecting critical programs like Medicare.”
DiNapoli pointed to Weprin's time as head of the city council's powerful finance committee--something Weprin's opponent, Bob Turner, has used as a point of attacking. Turner's campaign has questioned Weprin's statements about the council's "slush fund" scandal, as well as his outside earnings while in the council.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Bob Turner took a road trip last weekend to court members of the Orthodox Jewish community vacationing and visiting family in upstate New York, the Turner campaign said.
On Sunday, Turner fortuitously escaped the soaking here in the city as he traveled to Woodrige in Sullivan County to speak to potential supporters vacationing in the Catskills Mountains. Turner was accompanied by a campaign consultant, Jonathan Schenker, who is helping Turner navigate the Orthodox community.
"Much of the district, they go upstate in the summer, in the Orthodox community," Schenker said. "The men are up there for the weekend and the wives and the children up there for the week."
According to Schenker, Turner attended a house party with about ten supporters before hitting up the commercial strip in downtown Woodridge, where he was said to be well received at the local pizza shop. "They actually cheered," Schenker said. "It was a great feeling for me actually."
The three-hour tour (after a three hour drive up, followed by a three-plus hour drive back) in Sullivan ended with a visit to a local Orthodox camp connected to a Jewish center near the 9th Congressional District. Schenker said many of the in-district families send their children up during the summer. Turner visited with campers, their parents, and vacation homeowners up for the weekend.
"We gave up some things we could have done downstate because he felt it was important to be upstate," Schenker said. "It's a very big deal. He went to Sullivan County as a sign of commitment to the community."
Monday, August 15, 2011
The two candidates for the 9th Congressional District are releasing a flurry of campaign releases. Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin's campaign is out with a small business and job creation crib sheet. It's short on details--"Weprin will work to simplify the tax code, closing loopholes and lowering overall rates."--but points to the campaigns continued desire to make the race about the economy and federal entitlement protection. [See the campaign's one-sheeter after the jump.]
"Small businesses create the majority of Americas new jobs, employ about half of the nations private sector work force, and provide half of the nations nonfarm, private real gross domestic product (GDP), as well as a significant share of innovations. But small businesses have struggled to weather the economic downturn. Weprin believes that helping small businesses grow is essential to any comprehensive plan to improve the nations economy," the campaign said in its statement.
Bob Turner's campaign, fresh off the announcement this morning that former mayor Rudy Giuliani has endorsed the campaign, is continuing to hammer Weprin over comments he made in support of Park51--the "Ground Zero mosque"--building an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site. The furor that the issue created seemed to have dissipated, but the Turner campaign--wisely--is trying to reignite in-district conservative indignation over the site of what one day may be an Islamic-based community center.
"If David Weprin can't recognize the placement of this mosque as an insult, then he needs to snap out of it," Turner campaign spokesman Bill O'Reilly said in a statement. "A majority of New Yorkers made it perfectly clear that building a mosque that close to Ground Zero so soon after 9/11 was disrespectful and hurtful, yet the developer and his questionable backers refused to budge. It begs the question 'Why?'"
Monday, August 15, 2011
The Turner campaign announced the endorsement of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani this morning. This is now Turner's second former mayoral endorsement, the first coming from Democrat Ed Koch last month.
"Congress is in dire need of business leaders like Bob Turner, not another career politician," Mayor Giuliani was quoted as saying in a statement. "This country needs to start creating jobs again and Bob Turner has the national and international business know-how to help move us in that direction."
The endorsement of Giuliani--who still hasn't ruled out another potential presidential run--continues the momentum build Turner's campaign has had throughout the campaign. Turner's campaign release of an ad reviving the Ground Zero mosque controversy, while criticized in some circles, helped Turner control the tone and message of the campaign, putting his opponent, Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin, on the defensive.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Yesterday Salon's Justin Elliot analyzed the Turner campaign's decision to rehash the Ground Zero mosque controversy in the ad that's about to hit cable stations in Brooklyn and Queens. Elsewhere the decision has draw criticism, not just for being "embarrassing" but as a bad political move, as made evident by Carl Paladino's abysmal showing in the last gubernatorial race.
Elliot makes the argument that the decision to go with the ad is another pitch to the Jewish community in the district, and points to the Siena poll about Jewish support in this race compared to Obama's overall Jewish support in 2008. I read the Siena poll results differently and would point out that the Jewish population in the 9th is considerably more conservative than what you find in retirement communities in Florida or in suburban Boston. You have a large number of newly immigrated Russian-speaking Bukharian Jews who are, as one observer put it, still fighting the Cold War. They are added to an already conservative Orthodox community that leans Republican. Obama supporters they are not.
So while having 56 percent of likely Jewish voters supporting Weprin might not seem so hot, it's actually a pretty good showing. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if that number is higher in the next poll.
That being said, I don't think the Turner ad will move many Jewish voters. But what it could do--and this is far more likely to be why it's being aired--is whip up the Tea Party-esque sentiments in the southern part of the district. Special elections are much more like primaries than general elections. Taking a page from the Paladino campaign--who rode Tea Party enthusiasm to win the nomination--makes sense.
The Turner camp is hoping to fire-up folks in Brooklyn's Mill Basin and the Rockaway peninsula--the type of voters who helped propel Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich to victory during the 2009 special election. In a game that's all about energizing your base, Turner's inflammatory ad is a smart move. He has continued to build up considerable momentum, from the Koch endorsement on, and is within surprising striking distance of his opponent. The campaign--and its ads--might not be pretty, but it's working.