I had a chance to catch up with Bob Turner just hours before his national-news-making victory in the NY9 congressional race Tuesday, outside a public school in Marine Park, Brooklyn.
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I asked the retired broadcasting executive and political newcomer which of the current Republican candidates for president he most identifies with.
“Identity and support may be a little different,” he answered. “As a businessman and independent I like Herman Cain. He makes a good deal of sense to me and his positions aren’t that much different than the others. I will enthusiastically support the winner [of the primary] when the process works its way out.”
As we spoke, the Weprin campaign and the state Democrats were probably airing that commercial repeating Turner’s ill-advised quip at a debate, when asked if there were any corporate tax loopholes he would oppose, that “I never met a loophole I didn’t like,” which is kind of red meat to middle class people who feel corporations and millionaires should be carrying more of the burden of recovery. I asked if he regretted the remark.
“If I you heard the whole debate, there was a lot of laughter, it was a funny remark and in their desperation [the Democrats said] let’s seize on that and make it serious,” Turner said.
When I asked if he’s worried about the district being yanked out from under him in the redistricting process, Turner – a few hours away from victory – seemed to show a high regard for his electoral prowess.
“The chances that [the district] remains more intact with a Republican victory are better,” he said. If the district is eliminated and its representative had to run in a neighboring district “Mr. Joe Crowlery or Ackerman or others may have to take me on and I think they’d rather not, so here’s a way to avoid that.”
He likely meant that the incumbent Democrats would rather take their chances with Republican challengers than face a GOP incumbent with a recent upset under his belt. “We’ll see how that plays out. I have almost no control over that so I’m concentrating on this election.”
That made me think of the dozens of press releases and ads that referred to the candidate as Businessman Bob Turner and his opponent as Career Politician David Weprin.
After two campaigns, wasn’t he Politician Bob Turner now?
He laughed. “It seems like one long campaign. MY [political] career started 18 months ago. I had 40 years in business, I’m still a businessman. But maybe after I’m elected I’ll have to adjust that phrase.’