Updated 09/14/2011 08:50 AM
Turner Defeats Weprin For Weiner's Congressional Seat
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Republican Bob Turner captured the seat vacated by long-time Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner, upsetting Democrat David Weprin in Tuesday's special election.
With 87 percent of precincts reporting as of 2 a..m. Wednesday, Turner had 54 percent of the vote to Weprin's 46 percent.
Turner's victory represents an historic upset in the 9th Congressional district, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 3-to-1 margin. The district hasn't had a Republican congressman since 1923.
Turner won the race by fending off attacks on his stance toward Medicare and Social Security, and supporters say he rode a wave of voter discontent over the economy and what they call President Barack Obama's failed policies.
"Tonight we sent a message," Turner told cheering supporters as he declared victory in Howard Beach shortly after midnight. "I am delighted we rejected the political rhetoric we heard in this campaign. I think Washington better listen to us."
Weprin, however, hadn't conceded as of 12:15 a.m.
"It's not over yet," Weprin said shortly after midnight, after NY1 and the Associated Press called the race for Turner. "There's still quite a few ballots to be counted."
Weprin, a state assemblyman and Queens political scion, was once the frontrunner in the race. In recent, weeks, however, Turner pulled ahead in pre-election polls.
Turner, a media executive, ran against Weiner in 2010 and received 41 percent of the vote.
Weprin was hoping his "get out to vote" efforts and union support would boost his numbers as tried to portray Turner as too conservative for the district.
Republicans – as well as former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat – worked to paint Weprin, an observant Jew, as an undependable backer of Israel. Turner's supporters said a Republican win would "send a message" to Obama on his policies toward Israel.
The seat became up for grabs when Weiner resigned in June after admitting that he had sent lewd photos to several woman over the Internet. Weiner, a staunch Democrat and one-time mayoral candidate, had held the seat since 1999.
Regardless of Tuesday's outcome, the seat is expected to be targeted by state lawmakers, who will be forced to eliminate two districts next year.
Turner cast his vote Tuesday morning in Breezy Point, while Weprin greeted voters in Forest Hills.
Meanwhile, Democrats swept all four State Assembly Special Elections.
In Brooklyn’s 54th District the nominee on both the Democrat and Republican line, Rafael Espinal, won a tightly contested three-way race over Jesus Gonzalez from the Working Families Party and Deidra Towns from the Community First party.
In the 73rd District on Manhattan's East Side, Democrat Dan Quart defeated Republican Paul Niehaus.
In Queens' 27th District which includes parts of Kew Gardens, Flushing and Forest Hills, Democrat Michael Simanowitz beat Republican Marco DeSena.
And in Queens' 23rd District, encompassing parts of the Rockaways and Howard Beach, Democrat Phillip Goldfeder defeated Jane Deacy.