Congressman Anthony Weiner, New York Democrat, will debate his Republican challenger Bob Turner this afternoon in Rockaway Beach, New York at a local restaurant. The forum, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways, is the first official debate between the two.
According to the Turner campaign, Mr. Weiner showed up unexpectedly at a campaign event of Mr. Turner’s last Friday and demanded to debate the former television executive on the spot.
Mr. Turner agreed, despite the lack of press presence or that Mr. Weiner’s constituents were not given advanced notice of the event. It seems Mr. Weiner wanted an edge, as he had been ignoring calls for a scheduled debated by the Turner campaign for some time now.
I asked the Weiner campaign if this was a fair campaign tactic, given New York’s 9th Congressional District was generally unaware of Mr. Weiner’s plans to show up spontaneously to talk about issues pertaining to his district. His campaign sent no response back.
Mr. Weiner appears to be scrambling to get out his voter base. A Weiner campaign e-mail with the subject header: “I can’t do this alone people!” was sent out to Weiner supporters on Wednesday. The e-mail goes on to ask supporters to help the Congressman’s campaign via making phone calls, going door-to-door, and stuffing envelopes.
Perhaps Mr. Weiner should be more concerned about voter turnout. A recent survey commissioned by the Russian media company, Davdzon Radio, found the following:
No answer - 14,723
Voice-mail - 14,270
Answered call - no choice made - 30,775
Answered call - will vote for Turner - 1,227
Answered call - will vote for Wiener - 1,553
Answered call - hanged up right away - 93
Total calls made - 62,641
Will vote for Turner - 1,227 - 44 %
Will vote for Wiener - 1,553 - 56 %
Total survey participants - 2,780
The Russian demographic is an important one in New York’s 9th CD, as the district has a heavy Orthodox Jewish community within the Russian and Polish neighborhoods.
While Mr. Turner continues to go door to door and builds his popularity through billboards and press releases, questions still remain as to what Mr. Weiner plans are in terms of a New York City mayoral run.
Mr. Weiner’s campaign still has not responded to questions regarding a campaign office located outside of his district in Manhattan, where a sign on the door said “Weiner for Mayor.” His constituents may want to know what their Congressman’s short-term and long-term plans are, should they give him the privilege of representing them for another term.