Voters head to the polls today for the special election to decide the new representative for the 9th Congressional District – the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner.
Not sure where you can vote? Registered voters can find their polling station using this online tool.
As most readers should know by now, the candidates of the two major parties are David Weprin (Democrat) and Bob Turner (Republican), both of whom the New York Times had trouble finding a kind word for. They summed up the ballot as such:
There’s the Democrat, Assemblyman David I. Weprin, who has been in politics a long time, usually without seeing his name and the word “dynamic” appear in the same sentence.
The designated Republican, Robert L. Turner, is a retired television executive who comes across as someone looking for a way to keep himself occupied now that he has entered his eighth decade.
To describe it as a race between the plodder and the dilettante is surely unkind. It will be left to others to decide if it is inaccurate.
In opinion polls leading up to the election, Bob Turner was most recently the front runner, sparking a concentrated – and political-star-studded – final push from the Weprin campaign these last few days. But Turner has been casting his candidacy – for a position as a half-term junior congressman with little power – as a rebuke of the Obama administration, an attempt that appears to resound with voters in a once fervently Democratic district.
On Israel, both candidates are right-leaning. Weprin, an Orthodox Jew, has positioned himself as a critic of the Obama Administration’s policies, particularly the president’s claim that any peace negotiations be based on pre-1967 borders. Turner also opposes the plan, but the issue managed to become a major part of the campaign narrative when Turner received an early endorsement from Democrat Ed Koch, who said a vote for Turner would be show Obama what’s what.
Weprin, meanwhile, has focused as much of his campaign on Social Security and Medicare, saying he would defend the current payouts and not slash away at it. He claims Bob Turner’s proposal to radically slash the federal budget by about a third would force severe cuts to the entitlement programs. Turner, though, said he would make changes to the program without cutting it, but admitted that it would mean raising the payout age and increasing co-pays.
In his economic proposal, Weprin suggests taxing millionaires and closing corporate tax loopholes would be the most effective approach to closing the debt; a proposal slammed by “I never met a tax loophole I didn’t like” Bob Turner, who said that such a plan would slow growth.
Locally, neither candidate has been able to say much more than a throw-away line about Sheepshead Bay or its surrounding communities. They both remain unfamiliar with the neighborhood and have pledged to learn more once they win, and both say they’ll have duel district offices in Brooklyn and Queens. It’s ironic – and unfortunate – because as the most junior representative in the congressional body, they won’t have much say over taxes, Israel, entitlement programs… or really much of anything. But what they will have is the ability to help be a voice for constituents on local issues, amplifying concerns to D.C. and playing bully with city and state agencies.
Too bad they have no idea what they’ll be fighting for when the time comes.