First impressions often linger on forever. When retired businessman Bob Turner defeated a Democrat in the Special election to succeed the disgraced Anthony Weiner, Bob became an instant political celebrity. Bob’s victory showed that Jewish Democrats could be convinced to vote for a Republican candidate under certain circumstances.
Leaders of the New York State Conservative Party earned the right to lead in this celebration. In both his congressional elections, (Turner had run and lost to Anthony Weiner in 2010) the Conservative Party backed and played a crucial role in Bob’s campaigns. In fact, when the Republicans threatened to open the nominating process in the Special Election the Conservatives made it clear that they would only back Bob Turner. And Bob’s margin of victory came on the votes he received on the Conservative Party line.
Then during the congressional redistricting process the Conservative Party made Bob’s district a top priority.
Not satisfied with the lines of his new congressional district, Bob Turner decided not to try to retain his congressional district. But instead of riding off into the sunset, a week before the Republican Nominating Convention for United States Senate, Bob declared his candidacy against Senator Kirstin Gillibrand. Bob’s surprise candidacy is backed by the same Republican leadership that considered denying him the nomination in the Special Election. It also pits Bob against the conservative candidacy of Wendy Long.
At the Republican Convention, Wendy (without Republican establishment support) won 47% of the vote while Bob got the minimum 25%. Enough to create a statewide Republican primary. A few days later, the Conservative Party backed Wendy Long with over 90% of the vote at their convention.
Bob’s decision to challenge Long has pitted him against many of the conservatives who have been his loyal supporters. His last minute candidacy came about with out consultation with his staunchest supporters. His best case scenario (which is unlikely) would have him winning a Republican Party which would split the Republican-Conservative coalition which is the only hope in beating Gillibrand.
Meanwhile, the Left has trained its guns on Long’s candidacy. They know she is a dynamic threat to Gillibrand. Daily Kos has trained its unhinged fire on her because they know she poses the greatest threat to the unimpressive Gillibrand.
Frankly, Bob Turner is doing a disservice to the chances of defeating Gillibrand and to the conservative cause with his quixotic crusade. He is forcing a primary that is deflecting resources away from exposing Gillibrand’s mindless advocacy of Obama’s agenda. If he hoped to scare Wendy Long out of the race he has failed. She continues her vigorous campaign against the liberal Gillibrand.
You can help support her campaign here.