Republicans cause upset in New York election

President Obama addressing the AIPAC conference

President Obama addressing the AIPAC conference

New Yorkers made their thoughts on President Obama's administration clear this week as they handed a Republican candidate a victory in a seat which has been Democrat-run since the Prohibition era.

In a major upset for President Obama's party, voters in New York's ninth district chose a 70-year-old Catholic businessman with little political experience, over a 56-year-old Orthodox Jew, who a few years ago would have been a shoo-in.

The vote for the congressional seat, which includes parts of Brooklyn and Queens, was called after the resignation of Jewish representative Anthony Weiner amidst a sex scandal.

Republican Bob Turner won the election and hailed it as a message that will "resound into 2012", when the country will decide whether President Obama will be a one or two-term leader.

His opponent David Weprin, an established figure in the local Democratic Party, suffered for reasons including his support of gay marriage and the controversial Ground Zero mosque, as well as the president's record on Israel and his economic management.

Mr Turner emphasised his unequivocal support of Israel during the campaign, while voters highlighted President Obama's speech earlier this year when he called for a return to 1967 borders.

During the campaign Mr Weprin lost the support of Orthodox Brooklyn state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a popular figure among voters in the district, an estimated 40 per cent of whom are Jewish. The former Democratic mayor of New York Ed Koch also backed Mr Turner because he wanted to "send a message" to the president about his stance on Israel.

Steve Israel, the Democratic congressional campaign committee chairman of New York, said the result was "not reflective of what will happen in November 2012".

The National Jewish Democratic Council denied that Israel was the problem. "The overwhelmingly unfavorable view of Mr Weiner...has only hurt David Weprin's efforts to win this election," said council president David Harris. "Tonight, we saw some of the effects of that unpopularity."

Last updated: 10:00am, September 14 2011