HOWARD BEACH, N.Y. -- Republican Bob Turner won a special election Tuesday in a New York City congressional district that has been held by Democrats for nearly a century – an upset that delivers a stinging rebuke to President Obama and his party.
Just before midnight, the Associated Press called the race for Turner, a cable television executive with no prior political experience. He and his supporters had billed the contest against Democrat David Weprin as a referendum on Obama.
Turner’s stunning win in a district where Democrats hold a 3-1 registration edge is an ominous sign for the president. He won the district by an 11-point margin in 2008 but his weak poll numbers there now appear to have dragged down his party’s nominee.
The Obama administration’s call for Israel to return to pre-1967 borders as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians became a major factor in a district that includes one of the heaviest concentrations of Jewish voters in the country, and Weprin openly distanced himself from the president’s Middle East policies.
Turner won support from two former New York City mayors, Democrat Ed Koch, and Republican Rudy Giuliani, both of whom urged district residents to send a message to Obama about Israel by voting for the Republican.
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