2011-07-01 / Letters

Weiner’s Replacement

Dear Editor:

Allow me to add to the insightful analysis of “Filling Weiner’s Seat - If There Is One To Fill” (Howard Schwach – June 24). Now that 9th District Queens/Brooklyn Democratic Congressmember Anthony Weiner has resigned from office, many are now speculating on who his replacement might be.

Queens County Congressmember and Democratic Party Chairperson Joseph Crowley and his counterpart, Kings County Assemblymember and Democratic Chairperson Vito Lopez, will want Governor Cuomo to call a Special Election.

This will afford them the opportunity to make the decision behind the scenes and select the one Democratic Party candidate to appear on the ballot. Their respective loyal state committee members will quickly follow up and endorse the anointed successor.

If Governor Cuomo is going to match up his actions with his rhetoric as a reformer, he will ask that the seat be filled as part of the previously scheduled September 13 Primary. This would allow any registered Democrat who can obtain sufficient signatures to run in an open primary against the choice of Crowley and Lopez.

Governor Cuomo will have to quickly decide between his friendship with Crowley and Lopez or open up the process beyond the traditional local and county Democratic Party clubhouse to the voters.

Recent newspaper articles have profiled potential successors including former Queens NYC Councilmembers Eric Gioia and Melinda Katz, current NYC Councilmember Mark Weprin, along with State Assemblymember Rory Lancman, all from Queens. Fewer have ever mentioned State Assemblymember David Weprin as a potential serious candidate.

No public officials from the Brooklyn side of the district have been mentioned.

At the June 2009 meeting of the Queens County Democratic Party Executive Committee, everyone thought David Weprin had the endorsement for the September 2009 Democratic Primary for NYC Comptroller. In a major upset, the endorsement of his home county organization went to NYC Councilmember John Liu by a vote of 47 to 6 with 4 votes for fellow Queens NYC Councilmember Melinda Katz. Both Weprin and Katz went on to run active primary campaigns against Liu. Queens County Democratic boss Crowley has a long memory. Does anyone seriously believe two years later he will reward David Weprin or Melinda Katz with a Congressional seat?

Of those who know David Weprin best, be it Queens County Democratic boss Crowley, district leaders, co-leaders, old colleagues in the NYC Council, new colleagues in the Assembly,

State Senate or members of the Queens Congressional delegation, no one has stepped forward to champion his candidacy for Congress.

Since 2001, David Weprin has lost races for NYC Council Speaker (twice), NYC Comptroller and the vacancy left by former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

David Weprin reminds me of older brother Fredo in “The Godfather.” Fredo was constantly passed over for more responsibilities. I guess David Weprin will have to be content as a small fish in a big pond as just one of 99 Democratic State Assemblymembers.

The odds of David Weprin ever holding higher public office or following in the footsteps of his late father Saul Weprin, who served for many years as the State Assembly Speaker, are slim to none.

LARRY PENNER

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