The race to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner, the “Midwood Mouth” whose fiery rants in the House of Representatives were snuffed out by the career-killing “sexting” scandal is going down to the wire, but will end today when southern Brooklyn voters choose between Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin and GOP candidate Bob Turner.
Polls show that Turner still has a good chance of taking the prize, especially on the Brooklyn side of the bi-borough district, despite the fact that there are three Democrats to every Republican here.
A new Siena poll released on Friday said that 54 percent of Brookynites would pull the lever for Turner, compared to 42 percent for Welprin.
That’s up significantly from last month, when a poll reported Turner ahead 49–43 percent.
For those of you on the fence, here’s a primer on the two candidates and the issues that could make or break this election.
• Democrat. Left the Council, where he chaired the powerful finance committee, to become an Assemblyman in 2009. Son of late Queens political powerhouse and New York Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin.
• He’s not from Brooklyn, but both his parents were.
• Backed by US Senator Charles Schumer, several unions — and Bowzer from Sha Na Na.
• An Orthodox Jew
• Voted “Yes” to same-sex marriage in the Assembly earlier this year.
• Age 58. Married, five children, one grandchild.
• Republican. Former television executive. Played a key role in bringing Jerry Springer and “Baywatch: Hawaii” to a television near you.
• No Brooklyn roots to speak of.
• Mayor Ed Koch is backing Turner, but only as a way to denounce President Obama’s beliefs that Israel would be in a stronger position to negotiate with Palestinian forces if the country withdrew to its pre-1967 borders. Other supporters include Rep. Michael Grimm (R–Bay Ridge).
• Lost to Rep. Weiner in 2010, but received 42 percent of the vote.
• Age 70. Married, five children, 13 grandchildren.
• PEOPLE’S CHOICE: No primaries were held for this special election as political bosses — Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick) among them — chose who would run for Weiner’s seat.
• HEALTHCARE: The two are firmly divided on Obama’s Healthcare Reform Act. Weprin supports it, but said he would tweak parts of it. Turner calls it a business-killer and wants to get rid of it entirely.
• MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY: Weprin wants to leave both entitlements unchanged. Turner wants to see both intact for everyone 55 and over — but overhauled for everyone younger.
• 9-11 HEALTH CARE: Weprin has hammered Turner for “flip-flopping” on the Zadroga Act, which expanded death benefits to families of Ground Zero workers who die from cancer or respiratory diseases. Turner said civilians who helped in 9-11 recovery effort shouldn’t receive health benefits if they become ill from toxins inhaled at Ground Zero, but now he does, Weprin claims.
• DOLLAR DAYS: As of Aug. 24, Weprin had collected more than $248,000 for his campaign. Turner had just over $118,000, but that pot includes $65,000 he loaned himself.
• OBAMA FACTOR: The election is being called a referendum on President Obama, who currently has a 45 percent approval rating. Pictures of the President are prominent in Turner campaign mailers that claim, “American families are worse off now than they were two years ago, thanks to the failed leadership of President Obama and politicians like David Weprin.” Weprin says he disagrees on some of Obama’s policies and only met the President once, back when the Commander in Chief was a U.S. Senator from Illinois.