Republican Bob Turner handily won Anthony Weiner’s old Queens/Brooklyn seat in New York’s Ninth Congressional District last night, defeating Democrat Bob Weprin. Weprin didn’t live in the district, but, hey, he’s Jewish. That was supposed to impress the district’s Jewish voters, but somehow it wasn’t enough. The JTA reports on the race here; Steve Hayward comments on the race here. William Jacobson stayed up late to deliver the news and captured the comment of the night: “I wonder if the Dems want to go back to the pre-1967 borders of NY 9.” As that comment suggests, the anomalous outcome of the race can be accounted for by the voters’ attitude to Barack Obama.
In the other special election last night, Republican Mark Amodei crushed Democrat Kate Marshall in Nevada’s Second Congressional District. According to the Hill, a Democrat had never represented the district, but the margin of the race can only be explained by the same factor that accounts for the outcome in NY-9: Obama. I believe that Nevada’s Second is only about as Republican as New York’s Ninth is Democratic.
Does the Obama administration really believe that it has found the key to political recovery in a fight over son of Stimulus? Or is it peddling a line to a compliant press? I don’t think that the administration’s self-delusion has reached this level, though there is ground to debate the point. When it comes down to it, team Obama will not be counting on winning the election on the merits.
UPDATE: As you might expect, Michael Barone has the best demographic and historical background on New York 9.