New York – Assemblyman David Weprin is blaming President Obama for his stunning 54–46 percent loss to former television executive Bob Turner on Tuesday, claiming that he would have won the southern Brooklyn district if the Commander in Chief was doing a better job — yet many say the Democrat sunk his own ship with several campaign missteps, as well as his refusal to shave off his 1970s-style mustache.
“[The election] turned into a referendum of the President and I was an unfortunate consequence,” Weprin (D–Queens) said during a Monday-morning quarterbacking session with this paper on Wednesday. “If this election happened when the president’s poll results were better, I could have turned this around.”
It would have been quite a feat: Weprin lost the Brooklyn side of the bi-borough district — with just 33 percent of borough voters pulling the lever for him — in the fight for disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat. As the final numbers were tallied, Weprin was trailing by more than 4,000 votes on both sides of the district.
Weprin called Turner to concede the special election and congratulate his opponent on Wednesday morning. The victor acknowledged the President’s role in the election, according to Turner.
“He said ‘The election wasn’t about you or me. It was beyond both of us.’ ” Weprin recalled.
Chaim Deutsch, president of the Flatbush Shomrim patrol, said Orthodox Jewish voters were outraged that Weprin — an Orthodox Jew himself — voted for gay marriage earlier this year.
“This race was less about Turner and more about gay marriage,” Deutsch said. “[Weprin] not only voted for gay marriage, but he posed with them and went to the gay pride parade. He went out of his way to show that he supported gay marriage, that’s why Orthodox residents went against him.”
Sheepshead Bay Democratic District Leader Michael Gellar said that when Weprin did focus on the issues, he spoke about how the GOP-controlled Congress wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare — subjects that voters quickly tuned out.
“[Weprin] kept carrying on that Turner wanted to get rid of Medicare and Social Security. That would have worked a few months earlier when it was in the news — like it did when [Democrat] Kathy Hocul won a Republican seat upstate,” said Gellar. “But that was a one trick pony you can’t use over and over. People will start to resent you for it.”
Another problem was as clear as the mustache on Weprin’s face — the Assemblyman should have shaved his ’stache, Gellar said.
“Politicians usually don’t have facial hair, because it looks like your hiding something,” Gellar explained. “Mustaches and beards stop people from seeing the real you.”