A 70 year old retired conservative Catholic won a special congressional election in a 3-to-1 Democrat district that is 40% Jewish. Not since 1922 has a Republican won the district that includes part of Queens and Brooklyn in New York City. The race was seen as a national referendum on Barack Obama and the Democrat agenda, and bodes for a very uphill battle for the incumbent President and Democrat House and Senate members seeking re-election in fourteen months.
Bob Turner is a retired media executive who lost the race for the same House seat in 2010 to the then incumbent Anthony Weiner by a margin of 61-39. Weiner got embroiled in a scandal involving texting of lewd photos of himself and resigned three months ago setting the stage for the special election. The district had a history of launching other Democrat party giants such as Chuck Schumer and Geraldine Ferraro. Weiner fancied himself following in those footsteps and becoming the mayor of New York.
The voters in NY-9 had given the already self-absorbed Weiner plenty of reason to be very full of himself. The 2010 race against Turner that Weiner won by nearly 22 points was the closest of his seven elections. Weiner won his first four contests to represent the district beginning in 1998 by margins of 43, 42, 37, and 32 points. The GOP didn't even bother to field a candidate to run against him in 2006 or 2008.
The Democrats nominated David Weprin, a Jew, current member of the state legislature, and member of an established political family as the heir apparent to one of the traditionally safest Democrat seats in the nation. Welprin looked like a shoe-in, and although tainted by the Weiner scandal, no one really gave Turner a chance. "It was like Derek Jetter (hall of fame bound New York Yankee) facing a little league pitcher," according to one analyst.
Turner ran as a solid conservative; repeal ObamaCare, cut personal and corporate taxes, pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, and pro-Israel, too. Weprin tried to distance himself from Obama's record against Israel, but the voters weren't buying it. The Drudge report called Turner's victory, "The Revenge of the Jews!"
Polling showed the race tightening in the closing weeks. The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee dumped a half million dollars in late trying to save the seat, and even brought in heavyweights Andrew Cuomo and Bill Clinton to campaign with Weprin. Turner thumped Weprin 53-47.
Turner's win ranks right up there with Scott Brown's Senate victory in Massachusetts. With a 3-to-1 registration advantage, 40 percentage Jewish electorate (80% of Jews voted for Obama in 2008), and a GOP candidate who had already lost big in the district just ten months earlier, there is simply no way to read Turner's victory other than as Good News for Republicans and particularly conservative Americans hoping to save the Republic in the 2012 elections.
The blow to the chin from NY-9 had to feel like a Mike Tyson right hook to Barack Obama and the Democrat leadership. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the new Democratic Party Chairman and herself a congressman from Florida, was in complete disbelief and denial. "It's a very difficult district for Democrats," was her explanation for the defeat.
Debbie, if NY-9 is difficult – well, you ain't seen nothing yet. And, for America's sake, we think that is Good News.