- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2011

New York Democrats have picked their candidate for the Sept. 13 special election to replace disgraced former Rep. Anthony D. Weiner in the now-vacant empty 9th Congressional District seat.

State Assemblyman David Weprin, who currently represents state District 24, is set to be formally nominated by Democratic Party leaders and Queens representatives by Friday.

Mr. Weprin, who came in last in his 2009 primary run for New York City comptroller, will face a yet-unnamed Republican candidate.

This won’t be the first special election for Mr. Weprin, 55. He first earned his current office in a February 2010 special election, retaining the Queens seat in November with 67 percent of the vote.

Mr. Weiner, a Democrat in his seventh term, resigned the seat last month after he admitted to lying about sexted photos that appeared in his Twitter feed and elsewhere.

Political experts say Mr. Weprin is a sure bet and that his political lineage in the heavily Democratic district will carry the day in September.

“I think most see Weprin as an unsurprisingly safe pick for everyone involved,” said Darren Bloch, publisher-executive director of New York’s Capitol Publishing, calling Mr. Weprin “a candidate with strong ties to the district and a name that carries to help hold the seat for Democrats.”

Mr. Weprin’s brother Mark served as a representative before him, and his father, Saul, was an Assembly member for 20 years and served as speaker in the early 1990s.

Republicans are still undecided about who will represent them in the race, but Bob Turner, Mr. Weiner’s opposition in the 2010 election, is reportedly considering a second go at the seat.

Democrats have held the seat since the early 1920s, and while Mr. Bloch noted that Mr. Weiner’s victory was narrower than expected, he said he expected Democratic tilt of the district to prevail.

“The local Republican Party is dealing with internal squabbling over leadership, and it seems likely there will be multiple candidates in the race coming from the right” with the Republican and Conservative parties likely to pick competing candidates.

In the end, the special election may wind up meaning little. The middle-class 9th District faces being redrawn out of existence, because the results of the 2010 census means New York will lose two U.S. House seats. That’s why some candidates are opting out of the election, among them City Councilman Eric Ulrich of Queens.

But even if the seat expires, Mr. Weprin can still gain name recognition from the experience for future elections.

“Joe Crowley and Gary Ackerman get a candidate loyal to the party and unlikely to challenge either of them if - and, by most accounts, when - the district is collapsed in redistricting,” Mr. Bloch said. “And Weprin raises his profile in anticipation of another run for citywide office in 2013.”

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