In NY-9, Orthodox Jewish Vote Critical To Victory

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Source: NY Daily News, 7-12-11

Observers are increasingly saying the battle for control of Anthony Weiner’s former Congressional District, NY-9, will be about winning the hearts and minds of the area’s sizable Orthodox Jewish population.

orthodox.jpgMuch more on this for you in tomorrow’s Daily News, but for now, our Blau, Einhorn and Gendar report:

GOP pollsters have estimated about 100,000 of the district’s roughly 300,000 registered voters are Orthodox Jews. John Mollenkopf, a professor of political science at the CUNY Graduate Center, said the district has a large number of older conservative Jewish voters in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

“I would say that social security and Medicare are probably far more important to them as issues than… following Mayor Koch’s effort to say they should vote for the Republican to protest President Obama’s position on Israel,” Mollenkopf said.

Democratic state Assemblyman David Weprin, who also carries the endorsement of the Independence and Working Families Parties, will face off against Republican Bob Turner, a retired TV exec who’s also the standard-bearer of the Conservative Party.

Weiner, of course, resigned the congressional seat earlier this summer after a sexting scandal.

Democrats argue they outnumber Republicans in New York’s 9th CD, which covers portions of Queens and Brooklyn. And more liberal Democrats have successfully represented heavily Orthodox stretches and ultra-Orthodox Hasidic communities in Congress.

“It is going to come down to turnout,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “Turner may have a chance if he can paint Weprin as being chosen by the party bosses and will just be another voice for Obama in Washington. Weprin’s got to get out the vote and tag Turner as a typical Republican who wants to cut Medicare, slash and burn.”

Former Mayor Ed Koch has tapped into the idea of sending a message to Obama by electing a Republican to Weiner’s old district, but Weprin was already collecting top-notch support.

“We’re both from the same part of Queens. We grew up together. I’ve known him for more years than I care to remember,” said Gov. Cuomo of Weprin when asked about the contest at a news conference today. “So any way I can be helpful to him, I will. I don’t know that he needs my help, but if he thinks I can be helpful, I will be.”

Mayor Bloomberg also fielded a question about the Sept. 13 special election at a separate presser: “I probably will not [get involved in the special election] but I haven’t thought about it yet,” he said when queried about Koch’s having stepped in.

Asked if it’s a good strategy on Koch’s part to invoke the president and Israel, the mayor replied:  “You know, let me tell you: Ed Koch has been around a lot longer than I have and had a lot more experience. I would never second-guess his judgment. Some things work, multiple things work — there are a number of ways to express yourself.”…READ MORE

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