Why did so many Democratic voters cross party lines to support Bob Turner, the Republican?
Turner’s underdog victory was a “perfect storm” — a rare set of circumstances that in combination profoundly and drastically affected the race.
Coming off a recent respectable 40-percent showing against an entrenched — and at the time very popular — incumbent Rep. Anthony Weiner, Turner had name recognition and personal connection with residents. He also had a support system that included ties to the community and a large base of passionate volunteers.
Turner’s upset victory was a result of three other conditions: credibility, authenticity and relatability. Turner is not a career politician, but an experienced businessman with something unique to offer. His personal sincerity and devotion to his family resonated with people. His motivation for running was one of concern for the economy and the future of his country. This humble and authentic businessman/ non-career politician was exactly what was needed to energize and motivate citizens from all walks of life, all religions and all political parties.
The single biggest factor was when former Mayor Ed Koch crossed party lines to endorse Turner. Koch’s support turned the race from businessman vs. career politician to a referendum on President Obama’s policies. Soon after, another Democrat, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, crossed party lines to endorse Turner. The significance of these well respected Jewish Democrats supporting Turner cannot be overstated in its importance in swinging voters to Turner.
As the race went on, President Obama’s approval ratings continued to decline and many voters shared the sentiment that a vote for Turner was a vote against Obama’s policies on the economy and on Israel.
It was also very important that Koch called out the Weprin campaign for misleading voters about Turner’s positions on Social Security and Medicare. Once the lack of credibility of the Democratic machine was called out by Koch, the constant barrage of mailings and TV ads for Weprin were nothing more than an annoyance to many voters. Although the Turner campaign was tremendously outspent by the Democratic machine, once the momentum went our way, it seemed nothing could stop it.
Craig Eaton is chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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