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If Democrats Lose in N.Y., Plenty of Blame to Spread

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Republican Bob Turner greets volunteers at his campaign office in the Howard Beach section of Queens.

One way or the other, the spin will start in a New York minute. But first, someone has to win the special election today in New York’s 9th district.

Two recent polls showed Republican Bob Turner poised to upset Democrat David Weprin in the seat formerly held by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D). If Turner wins today, there will be plenty of blame spun throughout the Democratic Party. But with both campaigns expecting a turnout of about 20 percent, this election, more than most, will hinge on who shows up to vote.

Democrats emphasize that, despite the Siena College and Public Policy Polling surveys that show their candidate down by 6 points, a robust get-out-the-vote effort could keep the Queens- and Brooklyn-based district on the Democratic side of the ledger. The district has a significant organized labor presence, which is expected to be out in force.

The Weprin campaign said it has 1,000 volunteers going door to door and making phone calls. Democrats have a more than 3-1 party registration advantage in the district, though many registered Democrats — especially in the Brooklyn portion of the district — lean more conservative. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won the Brooklyn portion of the 9th with 57 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election.

Even some Republicans, despite the polls, don’t see a Turner victory as likely.

“I look at the numbers and the money the Dems are putting into it and the poll operation that they’re going to have,” a long-time New York City Republican operative said. “I just don’t see how it happens.”

Other Republicans conceded that while they expect a win, it will be a much tighter margin of victory than 6 points.

Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup.

National Democrats cling to the GOTV effort. “The Weprin campaign is continuing their aggressive Get-Out-The-Vote effort right up until the polls close,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Josh Schwerin said in a statement.

An automated call from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) went out to the district Monday. A call from President Bill Clinton, encouraging voters to cast their ballot for Weprin, is scheduled for today. “He’ll stand up for the middle class, he’ll support a good program to put Americans back to work and he’ll oppose the tea party plan to destroy Medicare,” Clinton said of Weprin in the pre-recorded call.

Turner also rolled out one of his highest-profile endorsements Monday, holding an event with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R). An automated call from another high-profile supporter, former Mayor Ed Koch (D), was released Monday by Turner’s campaign.

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