G.O.P. Nominee in 2010 Race to Try Again for Weiner Seat

July 9, 2011

By , The New York Times

Republican Party leaders in Queens and Brooklyn on Friday chose Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, as their nominee in a Sept. 13 special election to fill the seat of former RepresentativeAnthony D. Weiner.

Mr. Turner, 70, lost to Mr. Weiner in the 2010 general election, but he did much better than expected, garnering 40 percent of the vote in a strongly Democratic district. He will now take on the Democratic nominee, Assemblyman David I. Weprin, who comes from a well-known political family and is a former city councilman.

The winner would take office immediately, and serve out the balance of Mr. Weiner’s term through the end of 2012. But whether the winner will get an opportunity to defend his seat is unclear: New York is poised to lose two Congressional seats because of the 2010 census, and many officials believe that the Ninth Congressional District, two-thirds of which is in Queens, and one-third in Brooklyn, could be eliminated.

Mr. Weiner, first elected to Congress in 1998, had been considered a strong contender in the 2013 mayoral election. But he resigned from his Congressional seat last month after acknowledging that he had sent sexually explicit online messages to at least six women.

In a joint statement, top Republican leaders — including Philip Ragusa, the Queens party chairman; Craig Eaton, the Brooklyn party chairman; and Edward F. Cox, the state party chairman — expressed confidence that Mr. Turner would win, and fight for the middle-class and struggling small-business owners.

Mr. Turner, who is also an Army veteran, said in the statement that he would bring “real-world experience and fiscal sanity to Washington.” He even took to Twitter late Friday (which is something that Mr. Weiner was notoriously obsessive about, and something that Mr. Weprin said Thursday he had no experience in) to exhort his followers: “We are a go from both the Conservatives and Republicans! Thanks for the support. Let’s get to work.”

Mr. Turner beat out Juan D. Reyes, a lawyer who had worked for former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and for Bob Dole, the former Senate majority leader. But Councilman Eric Ulrich, the strongest prospect, arguably, opted not to run.

Mr. Turner is scheduled to hold a news conference on Monday in Forest Hills, at the same spot, Republicans said, where Theodore Roosevelt delivered his famous speech on 100 percent Americanism.


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