2011-08-12 / Top Stories

Turner, Weprin, Hoeppner Vie For House Seat

Three-Way Congressional Contest For Weiner’s Old Seat
By Howard Schwach

In what was a shock to his supporters, Congressman Anthony Weiner, a favorite with many Rockaway voters, imploded in late May, caught up in a scandal in which he sent lewd and inappropriate photos of himself and several of his body parts to a number of women around the nation who followed him on Twitter.

First, Weiner claimed that this Twitter account had been hacked by the Republican functionary who broke the story on his blog.

Then, he opined that the photos might have been of him, but that he did not know who sent them.

Finally, under pressure from the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives, Weiner admitted that he had a compulsion and apologized for his actions.

It was too late, however, and he resigned his position in Congress in June.

While Democratic officials wanted him out, many of his constituents in Rockaway continued to support him, arguing that he had done nothing illegal.

There were two ways that the vacant seat could have been filled, and it was up to Governor Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to call a special election or allow the regular election process of primary and general elections to take place.

Since it was so close to the regular election time, he could have allowed a regular primary election in September, with the electorate then choosing a candidate who would then stand in the November election.

Or, he could have called a special election, which would allow the candidates to be designated by the party bosses and the district leaders, taking the vote away from the electorate and putting it in the hands of those party bosses.

Cuomo chose the latter.

His decision was complicated somewhat by the fact that many political insiders looked to doing away with Weiner’s 9th District of New York in the redistricting process that will be completed early next year.

Because New York State has lost population between 2000 and 2010, the state will lose two seats in the House of Representatives. For those of you who don’t remember your high school civics, the Senate has 100 members – two from each state no matter what the state’s population.

The lower House has 535 members, and each state has an allocation of members decided by the population of the state. So, New York has to lose two seats. Insiders say that one Republican seat will be culled from the upstate districts and one Democratic seat will be culled from downstate – New York City, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

What could be easier than cutting a district in which there is no longer an incumbent, insiders say. So, the political leaders from Queens and Brooklyn who chose David Weprin and Bob Turner may well be choosing a caretaker.

Weprin is from a political family – his father was Sol Weprin, who managed several campaigns for Ed Koch. He has worked for several administrations and has been a City Councilman, as well as a finance commission head.

Turner is new to politics. In fact, it is something with which he never thought he would be involved, and an area, he admits, with which he never had a desire to get involved. Instead of politics,

Turner was involved with television production, working with such television personalities as Jerry Springer.

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