- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2011

The race for the U.S. House seat vacated by disgraced New York Rep. Anthony D. Weiner - once thought to be a lock for Democrats - continues to be closer than expected. Just how close depends on who’s counting.

Results of a survey released Friday by the Democratic polling firm Global Strategy Group showed Democrat David Weprin with an 8 percentage-point lead - 47 percent to 39 percent - over Republican Bob Turner. A large number of potential voters in the New York City district - 14 percent - said they were undecided.

The pollster noted that Mr. Weprin’s poll numbers improved significantly after he received an endorsement last week from the New York Times.

But GOP pollster McLaughlin & Associates portrayed a different scenario Thursday when it released the results of a poll that showed the candidates deadlocked with 42 percent of the vote. Sixteen percent of that survey’s respondents in the district, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens, were undecided.

A McLaughlin poll taken a month earlier showed the Democrat with an 8 percentage-point lead.

Bob Turner owns the momentum in this race,” the pollster said in the survey’s conclusion. “With adequate resources, the Turner campaign can and will continue on their current trajectory and defeat David Weprin on September 13th.”

Little independent polling has been done on the race, with the most noteworthy being a Siena College survey in early August showing Mr. Weprin ahead by 6 percentage points. Nine percent said they didn’t know who they were would vote or had no opinion.

New York’s 9th Congressional District, which has three times as many Democratic voters as Republicans, hasn’t elected a Republican representative since the 1920s. But the race’s competitiveness has caused both parties to uncharacteristically spend money on the campaigns.

Still, most independent political experts say it’s Mr. Weprin’s race to lose. The Democrat had raised almost $451,000 and had more than $202,000 in available cash as of Aug. 24 - both more than double the almost $204,000 that Mr. Turner had raised and his almost $94,000 in cash during the same period, according to campaign finance records.

Mr. Turner, 70, a longtime business executive, lost to Mr. Weiner by 20 percentage points in last year’s race for the seat. But the incumbent resigned in June after admitting he had sexually charged online relationships with several women, setting up the Sept. 13 special election to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in early January 2013.

Mr. Weprin, 55, is a New York state assemblyman and a former New York City Council member.

The candidates may find it difficult to deliver their message in the final days of the campaign, when the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is expected to dominate the city’s media coverage.