Are The Democrats Missing Anthony Weiner?

With the 9th CD, for the first time in nearly everyone’s lifetime, in Republican hands, giving New York City a rare duo of GOP congressmen (with Staten Island’s Mike Grimm), I’ve been wondering who’s sorry now.

Repulsed by Anthony Weiner’s tawdry online behavior and lame coverup attempt, the Democrats, from the local level straight up to the White House, tossed the lascivious legislator under a bus, never mind that more than half his constituents said they’d still vote for him. Weiner was a solid vote-getter and fundraiser, and fared far better against Bob Turner – who proved to be a skilled campaigner — than did David Weprin.
In hindsight, would the Democrats have been better off riding out the storm with Weiner?
State Democrat Chairman Jay Jacobs doesn’t think so.
“Regardless of the outcome, the circumstances were creating such a distraction from the Democratic agenda that we just couldn’t continue,” Jacobs told me today. “Frankly, Weiner made the right decision. You also have to remember that it was not just about being re-elected, but about being effectve while in office.
“Because of all the attention, the negative publicity and such, he had lost his effectiveness as a member of Congress.”
But Democratic political consultant Rabbi Hank Sheinkopf says there are probably a few second thoughts around party HQ.
“[Weiner] wasn’t convicted of any crime, he was well-liked in nis district,” said Sheinkopf. “He had more than a year to go until re-election and probably could have sat down and had a frank discussion with people and made a public apology. But he wasn’t given that opportunity.”
Now, said Sheinkopf, New York Dems have a bigger problem than an embarrassing congressman. “This changes the whole notion of reapportionment. The Republicans have a major card to play and they control the state Senate. They’re not going to give up that district so fast."
Jacobs said he never figured on the 9th being any more vulnerable than the upstate 26th CD won in another special election this year by Democrat Kathy Hochul.
“I never looked at [the 9th] as being a potential target,” he said. “Whether this particular district’s lines move here or there are not any more predictable now than before the election. But I wouldn’t be sure that a Republican can retain the seat in a general election.”
Asked who he’d like to see take on Turner next year, and if Weprin should seek a rematch, Jacobs said “I’d rather stay away from making those kinds of predictions.”
About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.