Democratic leaders have made their pick for the seat recently vacated by Anthony Weiner, New York’s Ninth Congressional District: Queens Assemblyman David Weprin.
Weprin is widely seen as the establishment’s “safe” choice: a machine candidate well-known enough to win an election, loyal enough not to present a challenge, and boring enough not to steal a spotlight.
The Daily News reports:
The winner of Weiner’s seat may not be in Congress for long, since the seat has been eyed to be redistricted out of existence thanks to recent Census results.
Weprin, 55, was picked by borough party boss Rep. Joe Crowley – who some political insiders feel valued loyalty over charisma when making the selection.
“[Weprin] ain’t exactly a powerhouse,” said one prominent operative. “They wanted to pick somebody who wouldn’t be dynamic enough to present a problem if he was redistricted out.”
Weprin – who lives in Holliswood, a few blocks outside of the district he hopes to represent – was a City Councilman for eight years and former finance chairman.
Weprin’s brother Mark is a City Councilman and their late father, Saul, was a legendary Assembly speaker.
So far, the reaction and analysis of the pick is that it’s about loyalty and nothing more. The Daily News quickly slammed the decision in an editorial, saying the pick was the bosses’ choice, not the people’s. But since when is politics about the people? If the district’s residents had their way, Weiner would probably still be in office.
Since most of the district’s Brooklyn residents don’t even know who Weprin is, the reaction has largely been met with a shrug. As if a testament to his mildness, the only interesting thing political reporters have seized upon regarding the Weprin pick is his measured slap at Weiner, stating that he “never tweeted in my life and I don’t spend any time in the gym.” Wow, what a sense of humor on that one…
There is one segment politically opposed to the pick, though. Observant Jews, the “largest of all the ethnic groups” in Weiner’s old district, are getting riled up. The Yeshiva World News published a scathing editorial concluding “Jews won’t gain much by backing Weprin for Congress.”
As with the Democrats, the Republicans (and Conservatives) are focused on strategy, not the needs or interests of constituents.
The Republican candidate for the September 13 special election has yet to be decided. Republicans have narrowed the field to Queens businessman Bob Turner, who challenged Weiner in 2010, and former Guiliani aide Juan Reyes, with a final choice expected today. There’s apparently some drama that could cause a rift between the Republican and Conservative parties, with speculation that a weaker candidate might be put forward in order to safeguard a seat elsewhere.
Got to love all the political jockeying and partisan hackery. The winner of the special election may not be clear, but it’s obvious who the losers are: the constituents who are left with a lackluster candidate and no voice in Congress.
Here at Sheepshead Bites, we’ve got no real stomach for the horserace coverage about party influence. We just want to know how we’ll be represented and how our neighbors interests will be addressed. If you do care for all the analysis, we highly recommend following the blogs (and Twitter feeds) of The Brooklyn Politics (@BKpolitics) and Azi Paybarah (@azipaybarah) of Politicker NY, who’ve been pulling together the best reporting on New York’s Ninth, and providing clear explanations for the uninitiated.
(Colin Campbell, Mr. BKpolitics himself, passed us a link to a collection of all his NY-9 related reporting.)