But if Weiner wasn't running again, that would change the dynamic significantly. Weiner is a well-liked figure in the district, and has a record of winning over Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. But if the seat opened up, there aren't many Democratic contenders who would start with the same level of support. One Republican operative floated the name of New York state Judge Noach Dear as a serious potential candidate. Dear unsuccessfully challenged Weiner in 1998 and 2000 in the Democratic primary, and later ran against him as a Republican. (VIDEO: 'Swelling Controversy' Surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner) The district has a sizable Jewish population, including a fast-growing Orthodox Jewish bloc that tends to vote Republican. It wasn't long ago that Republicans expected to have no problem holding onto the seat of former Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., even after his embarrassing sex scandal. Today Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul was sworn in to replace him. Interestingly enough, Hochul's seat is more Republican (R+6) than Weiner's is Democratic (D+5), according to the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voting Index. If Weiner does step down as a result of the scandal, it's hardly a foregone conclusion that Democrats will be a lock to hold onto the seat.
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