White House: House seat loss no harbinger

Sept. 14, 2011 at 2:34 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The Democrats' loss of Anthony Weiner's House seat in New York is not a harbinger of things to come in next year's elections, the White House said Wednesday.

Seventy-year-old Republican Bob Turner, a political newcomer, claimed victory Tuesday night over David I. Weprin in the traditionally Democratic district in New York's Brooklyn and Queens boroughs in the special election to fill the vacancy created by Weiner's resignation.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One "special elections are often unique and their outcomes do not tell you very much about future regularly scheduled elections."

"And I'm sure that you and everyone else here did not write, after Democrats won all, I believe, the special elections in 2009 and 2010, that that foretold a certain outcome in the 2010 midterms," Carney said. "Certainly, this election has no other bearing."

He brushed aside assertions that this special election was different, coming after Congress passed major healthcare and financial reforms, saying it would be "foolish" to make predictions 14 months out based on one district's results.

Carney also rejected the contention the GOP's win should be viewed as a wake-up call, but acknowledged all elected officials need to recognize Americans in general are "anxious" and "not happy with Washington."

Turner becomes the first Republican to represent the New York City district since the 1920s, The New York Times reported.

NY1 News reported Weprin conceded Wednesday and complimented Turner for a "well-fought campaign."

"He [Turner] will now have the honor of representing Brooklyn and Queens in Congress, and I hope that he will work every day to represent all of the diverse communities that make up the 9th Congressional district," Weprin said.

The race appeared to be influenced by voter concerns over the economy. Some voters in the heavily Jewish district are also unhappy with President Barack Obama's Israel policy, and former Mayor Ed Koch urged Jewish Democrats to vote for Turner.

"I am a registered Democrat, I have always been a registered Democrat, I come from a family of Democrats -- and I hate to say this, I voted Republican," Linda Goldberg, a 61-year-old Queens resident, told the Times. "I need to send a message to the president that he's not doing a very good job. Our economy is horrible. People are scared."

Turner said his success foretells an Obama rout next year.

"We have lit one candle today," he said. "It's going to be a bonfire pretty soon."

Weiner resigned this year after admitting he sent sexually explicit photos of himself on Twitter.

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