NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The race to replace disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in Tuesday’s special election may turn into a referendum on President Barack Obama and his positions on the economy and Israel.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned with Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner on Monday, trying to augment his surprising lead in the polls in Weiner’s heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District with a strident attack on Obama and his policies, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
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America’s mayor described the president’s jobs plan as “warmed over spit.”
And he was highly critical of the president’s position on Israel and support for the creation of a Palestinian state.
“Nor for the life of me can I figure out what benefit there is to the United States to have a Palestinian state. Why would America want to create another terrorist state?” Giuliani said.
A new survey from Public Policy Polling shows 47 percent of voters favor Turner, who is ahead of Democrat David Weprin by 6 points. Christopher Hoeppner of the Socialist Workers’ Party is drawing just 4 percent and 7 percent of voters say they’re undecided.
The Republican strategy in the hotly contested race to replace Weiner has been to make it a referendum on Obama’s policies, arguing that sending businessman Turner to Congress would be a wake-up call to the president.
“The only poll that counts is the one tomorrow. We’re going to have every union behind us. We’re going to have more troops in the field and we’re going to pull out the traditional Democratic vote,” Assemblyman Weprin said.
Weprin bristled at the notion that the race is about the president’s policies.
“The president’s not running ‘til next year. I think there’s a clear difference between the two of us. I stand for traditional Democratic principals. I’m committed to preserving Medicare and Medicaid,” Weprin said.
Although both men have their supporters in this heavily Democratic district, there are a surprising number of voters looking for change.
“Turner,” Forest Hills resident Leo Berg said when asked whom he’s voting for. “I’m usually a Democrat but in today’s day in age the way things are I’m going Republican.”
“I’m leaning more towards the Republican,” added Daniel Saat of Forest Hills. “I think it’s good to have a change once in a while.”
The worry for Democrats is the effect a possible Turner victory could have on Obama. It could make Democrats in vulnerable districts afraid to support the president’s agenda.
Weprin has been endorsed by El Diario and the New York Times. Turner has been endorsed by the Daily News and the New York Post.
The special election will also include six Assembly districts with vacancies that need to be filled. Those are in Oneida County, Erie County, Brooklyn, Manhattan and two in Queens.
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