A Republican Surge In Weiner's District
Much of the attention being paid to Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., is focused on the salacious - whether he sent the lewd picture to a college undergrad or whether he was the victim of a grand hoax. Few are talking about the possibility that Republicans could pick up Weiner's seat.
If the scandal snowballs, however, there could be some serious political implications for Democrats from the incident. While Weiner represents a New York City district that's conventionally thought to be safely Democratic, in reality it has trended sharply in a Republican direction in recent years. If Weiner stepped down from Congress, Republicans would have a realistic shot at putting it in play.
Weiner's district, spanning mostly white neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, trended more Republican than any other district in the country from the 2000 to the 2008 presidential election. Al Gore carried the district in a landslide, winning 67 percent of the vote. But it gave John Kerry just 56 percent of the vote in 2004, a striking 11 point dip.
The gain was largely attributable to voters' strong support of George W. Bush's counterterrorism policies post-9/11, but four years later John McCain carried the same 44 percent of the vote as Bush, even as President Obama significantly outperformed Kerry across the country.
Weiner himself faced his toughest re-election in his career last year, winning 59 percent of the vote against an underfunded Republican opponent. For Weiner, that was a limp performance - he had always won more than 66 percent of the vote since he first ran for Congress in 1998.