The Democrats lost a long-held Congressional seat to the Republicans Tuesday because Jewish voters were irked over New York’s new same-sex marriage law and the Obama administration’s attitude toward Israel, according to political observers.
“Many Jewish voters turned out to support Bob Turner in Tuesday’s election, bucking the historical pattern in their Democratic-leaning neighborhoods and helping seal an upset victory for the Republican congressional candidate,” wrote Alison Fox, Pervaiz Shallwani and Aaron Rutkoff for the Wall Street Journal.
“Bob Turner’s victory,” wrote Aaron Goldstein in the American Spectator, “is certainly in part a rebuke of President Obama’s overt hostility towards Israel. But does Turner’s triumph represent a turning point for Jewish voters at large when it comes to President Obama? I’m not so sure.”
The other night Dick Morris told Bill O’Reilly that a Turner victory would be as big a shock as Scott Brown winning here in Massachusetts last year.
As John Tabin has noted, Turner received a lot of support from Orthodox Jews (as well as Russian Jews.) As both Jim Antle and John Guardiano have noted, New York’s recent recognition of same sex marriage also played a role. Well, Orthodox Jews tend to be a more conservative lot, so it isn’t a surprise they would have an antipathy towards gay marriage.
The Wall Street Journal article agreed:
Voters interviewed Wednesday pointed to their opposition to same-sex marriage and Turner’s pro-Israel politics as factors that swayed them to pick a Republican. It was the first time in nearly a century that the GOP has won the Ninth Congressional District, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
Jewish supporters cheered as Republican Bob Turner took the stage at an election night party on Tuesday.Chaim Klein, a 26-year-old bookkeeper in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood, said the election came down to issues, not party politics.
State Assemblyman David Weprin, the defeated Democratic candidate, voted in favor of gay marriage earlier this year, “so people went out against him,” said Klein, a self-described Democratic voter in the past. “Now because of this people voted Republican.”
Tzirel Zlotnick, a teacher and self-described Orthodox Jew and Republican voter in Kew Gardens, Queens, said she didn’t think much of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the Democratic lawmaker who resigned from the seat following a scandal over sexually charged online messages. But she would have voted for Weprin, who also identifies as an Orthodox Jew, if not for same-sex marriage.
“How can he call himself an Orthodox Jew and vote for gay marriage?” Zlotnick said. “If not for that, I probably would have voted for him.”