Former Goldblog aide-de-camp Joshua Miller, now a reporter for Roll Call, files this interesting dispatch about the special election to fill Anthony Weiner's seat. The election is notable because two ardently pro-Israel candidates are competing against each other, except that the Catholic pro-Israel candidate, the Republican, is doing better among many Jews than the Orthodox Jewish pro-Israel candidate. Much of this, obviously, has to do with the way President Obama is understood among conservative-leaning Jews, which is to say, as an enemy of Israel, which, as readers of this blog know, is unfounded:
In an election with plenty of unusual twists, perhaps the most confounding is how Weprin, a longtime ally of the Jewish state -- an Orthodox Jew, no less -- is seen by some voters as the less pro-Israel candidate in the race.
A likely genesis of this thread of the campaign was former New York City Mayor Ed Koch's (D) endorsement of Turner. Koch wants to send a message of disapproval to the president.
"If David Weprin is elected, you think that sends a message?" Koch asked rhetorically at an endorsement event for Turner.
Koch's message may have resonated in a district that, despite its more than 3-to-1 Democratic voter registration advantage, has always been suspicious of Obama, knowledgeable Democrats say. Obama carried the 9th with only 55 percent of the vote and the Brooklyn portion of the district actually voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with 57 percent of the vote.
In a later interview with Roll Call, (Rabbi Nahum) Kaziev stressed that as the leader of a nonprofit, he wasn't officially endorsing anyone but said the Bukharian Jewish community -- 35,000 strong in the district, by his estimate -- had deep concerns about Weprin. Kaziev said the three main issues the community had with the Democrat were his connection with Obama, whose leadership on the economy and Israel many are greatly disappointed by, Weprin's public support for gay marriage in the New York State Assembly and his lack of help for the community when Weprin was a member of the New York City Council.