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Special Election Held For 9th Congressional District

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Voters in parts of Brooklyn and Queens are heading to the polls today to decide whether Republican Bob Turner or Democrat David Weprin will replace Anthony Weiner in Congress.

Both candidates are pulling out the heavy hitters in a last ditch effort to garner support.

Republican Bob Turner cast his vote this morning in Breezy Point.

He ran against Weiner in 2010 and received 41 percent of the vote.

Polls show the media executive with a slight edge over 55-year-old Democratic candidate, longtime politician and Queens political scion David Weprin.

While Turner has had to fend off attacks on his stance toward Medicare and Social Security, Republicans are hoping he will ride a wave of voter discontent over what they call President Barack Obama's failed policies.

"This has seemed to get a little out of hand, hasn't it? But it's true," said Turner. "It wasn't planned that way but this is the only contested national election on the federal level, so it is in a way a referendum on President Obama's policies."

Weprin, meantime, was up bright and early this morning making a last minute push to garner support.

He greeted residents outside a subway station in Forrest Hills.

Weprin's campaign has struggled in recent weeks, despite running in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, which has been represented by Democrats since the 1920s.

In the last week, two polls have put Bob Turner six points ahead of Weprin.

The Queens Assemblyman has been trying to portray Turner as too conservative for the district.

"I think more people blame Republicans in the house, particularly, the Tea Party element of the Republican party that basically held the nation hostage, resulted in going down to the wire on raising the debt ceiling which ultimately resulted in S&P downgrading U.S. credit from a AAA rating and I think we're gonna get that message out," Weprin said.

Those living in the district say the economy will likely weigh heavily on the outcome of the election.

"I think we are all feeling pinched. The economy is not getting any better. He has made a lot of bad decisions. Hasn't come across as strongly as he could of and that's putting it mildly," said one Queens resident.

"It's just not getting better. My husband is jobless for a year and a half and it's difficult to make a living," said another.

Republicans also managed to paint Weprin, an observant Jew, as less as than a dependenable Israel backer, despite evidence to the contrary.

Whoever wins Tuesday's special election may not serve for long.

The seat is expected to be targeted by state lawmakers who will be forced to eliminate two districts next year.

Meanwhile, voters in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan will also get a chance to pull the lever in some other races today.

There are special elections for vacant State Assembly seats in the 54th, 23rd, 27th and 73rd Districts.

In the 54th District, Rafael Espinal was selected by Democratic party leaders to fill Darryl Towns' seat.

He faces a challenge from 26-year-old community organizer Jesus Gonzales and Towns' sister, Deidra Towns.

The district covers Bushwick and Cypress Hills.

Phillip Goldfeder takes on Jane Deacy in the 23rd, which includes Howard Beach and the Rockaways.

Goldfeder has been endorsed by Senator Charles Schumer.

Today is also primary day.

The City Council seat held by the late Thomas White will be up for grabs in November.

Voters in the 28th Council District will pick the Democratic nominee.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

For more information, visit vote.nyc.ny.us.

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