Robert Costa writes that the President's unpopularity was not the only factor in Bob Turner's surprise 8-point victory yesterday over David Weprin:
Marriage matters. Democrats may think the debate is over, but in a district they’ve held for decades, it is a hot-button issue, and may have cost David Weprin a seat in Congress. Orthodox Jewish leaders hold major sway in Brooklyn and Queens and many of them campaigned against Weprin for supporting same-sex marriage, which was legalized by the state legislature in June. Queens assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, endorsed Turner due to Weprin’s vote. Sensing opportunity, the National Organization for Marriage poured thousands into the district.
And the polls encouraged them: One Public Policy Polling survey showed district voters opposing same-sex marriage, 45 percent to 41 percent. PPP’s numbers also showed that nearly 30 percent of locals viewed marriage as a deciding factor. In an interview with an Orthodox Jewish news outlet, Weprin, on the ropes, fumbled, awkwardly tiptoeing away from the law. He may have convinced a scattering of conservative Democrats to stick with him, but he let down his base, generating ire from his Democratic colleagues for questioning, of all things, the procedure used to pass the bill. “I find this offensive,” complained one Democratic state senator. “Once people think you’re not being honest about your position, then they question all of your positions.” Turner, who spent months reaching out to rabbis and their flocks, cleaned up.