NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Republican Bob Turner has claimed Anthony Weiner’s seat, the first time the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens will be in the hands of the GOP since the 1920s.
Turner had to wait until early Wednesday morning to declare victory.
Rep-Elect Bob Turner With WCBS 880’s Steve Scott
The retired cable TV executive, who has never held public office, ran as a Republican in a congressional district that has a 4-to-1 majority of Democrats. Turner said he won because voters wanted to send a message to President Obama that they don’t like his policies on the economy and Israel.
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“We’ve been asked by this district to send a message to Washington, and I hope they hear it loud and clear,” Turner said. “We’ve been told this is a referendum, and we’re ready to say ‘Mr. President, we’re on the wrong track.'”
He will be sworn in Thursday morning.
Turner hopes to hit the ground running in Washington and get appointed to committees that can impact New York.
“There are a number of very attractive committees but certainly homeland security is an issue here as well as banking or finance where some of the recent legislation will be very impactful, I think negatively, for New York City,” he said.
Disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned the seat, said he had voted for David Weprin to help continue the president’s policies, but his former constituents didn’t buy it.
It took 11 hours for Weprin to concede after the election was called, but in a statement Wednesday morning, Weprin said he called Turner to congratulate his opponent “on a well-fought campaign.”
“He will now have the honor of representing Brooklyn and Queens in Congress, and I hope that he will work every day to represent all of the diverse communities that make up the 9th Congressional District,” Weprin said in his statement. “Though we may not have won, our work is far from over… and I will continue to work with all of my supporters to ensure that middle class New Yorkers have a real voice in our city, our state, and our country.
And even though he made robo-calls on Weprin’s behalf, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had no comment Wednesday on Weprin’s defeat,” reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Voters told Kramer they had a lot of reasons for helping Turner upset Weprin.
“I think Turner won because Weprin ran a very lackluster campaign. He just took it for granted that us Democrats are going to get out and vote for him,” said Richard Fitzko of Sheepshead Bay. “Maybe just people here are just sick of Democrats having power and doing nothing.”
“He spent so much money. I must have gotten 20 calls each day. Weprin people didn’t start closing until the polls were closing,” Evelyn Berman added.
“I think people are just tired of the same old politics. The other fellow has been a longtime politician. Turner’s new. He’s a businessman and he knows how to create jobs. I just think we need a change, send a message to Obama,” said Karl Hellerich of Forest Hills.
The president’s policy on Israel brought many Jewish voters to the polls, including Democrat Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who crossed party lines to back Turner.
“When people went to vote, they said it was about the Obama administration, the policy on jobs, the policies with regard to Israel, and Bob Turner represented the values of our community,” Hikind said.
“They were sending President Obama, himself, a message with this vote that they are not accepting his policies. They want him to pivot and move and they are not going to take it any more. Thirty percent of the population in this district thinks his position on Israel has been just dead wrong,” Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm said.
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Republican Congressman Peter King told CBS 2’s Kramer that the results of the victory could be that Democratic congressmen in vulnerable districts might not support the president’s agenda.
“Nervous Democrats in Congress from all over the country are going to see this race and say ‘My God, if this can happen in Anthony Weiner’s district, this can happen anywhere,'” King said.
Senator Charles Schumer and Democratic national chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz had a conference call to talk about the Republican victory.
“The district is not a bellwether districts. It’s one of the most conservative districts in New York City and even if you look at the overall, it did worse than the president’s vote in New York State in 2008,” Schumer said.
“I do think as the issue, as the scene focuses from cutting to jobs that the president will do better and better and better in this district, in New York and in the country.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also issued this statement:
“The results … are not reflective of what will happen in November 2012 when Democratic challengers run against Republican incumbents who voted to end Medicare and cut social security while protecting tax loopholes for big corporations and the ultra wealthy.”
“Hopefully they’ll redistrict and eliminate District 9,” said Phil Fields, a disappointed Democrat.
The White House said it did not regard the Turner election as a referendum on President Obama.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand congratulated Turner on his win.
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Though Turner is a political novice, he’s far from an overnight success story.
He is 70 years old and in addition to his background as a television executive, he is part-owner of a hotel in Orlando.
He’s a trustee of pro-bono organizations such as the Achilles Track Club and Family Focus Adoption Services. He is also a veteran of the US Army.
Turner is married with five kids and 13 grandchildren.
This is the first time since 1923 that a Republican will represent the 9th Congressional District.
Besides Anthony Weiner, Democrats who have represented the district include Schumer and former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.
What effect will this result have on other lawmakers? Sound off in our comments section below…