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Republican Robert Turner, ran in a regular election in the 9th Congressional District last year and received about 40 percent of the vote, won an upset victory over state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) with a stronger campaign for the same seat.
As we analyze the results, in addition to the Democrats having a 3-1 advantage in registration throughout the district, Weprin had three party endorsements to Turner’s two. Weprin, as the Democratic Party candidate, was supported by the Working Families and Independence parties. Turner, as the Republican standard bearer, was endorsed by the Conservative Party.
It seems that many factors influenced the final results, especially former Mayor Ed Koch’s and state Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s (D-Brooklyn) endorsements. Turner’s strong support for Israel helped him considerably. It could also be said that some of the registered Democrats got tired of the endless campaigning they were subjected to by the Democratic National Congressional Campaign Committee in terms of constant telephone calls, mailed campaign literature and visits by people working for Weprin.
There is such a thing as too much campaigning from the standpoint that people get turned of it after a while.
Weprin is a veteran candidate for office, but he had not faced a candidate before in his borough races who got the amount of media attention the Turner candidacy got. Nor did he face a candidate who had the name recognition or campaign organizational structure that Turner had. Weprin had a much larger campaign organization than Turner, but the GOP effort was better organized and more motivated.
The fact that this was a special election and not held during the regular fall election gave the voters a more in-depth look at the candidates and issues involved, since this was the only congressional race in the city.
It was highly unusual for a Republican candidate for Congress to have the endorsement of leading Democrats, especially a former mayor, although Weprin did receive the endorsement of Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing).
We can say this recently concluded race in the district was an important milestone in the journey to the 2012 election, which most political observers believe will be one of the most important political years in the history of our nation.
It set a tone for future elections. The question is will that tone strongly influence future elections in New York, considering that next year we will have two primaries: the first a presidential primary in April, and then a regular primary several months later, in addition to the fall November election for president, vice president, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, state Senate and Assembly.
In other news, in the Queens GOP the battle for county leadership is drawing to a close. The regular county organization, led by Phil Ragusa, is considered in the lead and expected to continue in the county leadership role. The recently concluded primaries for Republican district leaders gave four out of six leadership primary victories to the regular county organization. That seemed to give a strong position to the regular county leaders.
It should be pointed out that Turner’s congressional victory also gives credit to the county organization.
Next year, the Queens Democratic Party will have its election of county leaders, who will set the local policy for the Queens Democrats.
It seems that 2012 is shaping up as a busy and an interesting political year.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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