Weiner Seat in Jeopardy for Dems?

David Weprin. Next Left Notes/WikiCommons

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The House seat vacated by disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner suddenly doesn’t look so safe for Democrats. That’s thanks in part to a series of untimely gaffes by Democratic candidate David Weprin, who will face off against Republican Bob Turner in a special election on September 13.

Here’s TPM:

The influential New York Daily News savaged Weprin over the weekend after he belly flopped on a simple question from their editors: what is the national debt? With a reported “deer in headlights” look, he twice guessed $4 trillion, about $10 trillion off from the correct answer. As cringe-worthy a moment as it was on its own, its impact is much worse in Weprin’s case: he’s been selling himself as a fiscal Mr. Fix-it, touting his eight years as chair of the City Council’s finance committee as his top qualification.

The next day Weprin dropped out of a debate with Turner at the last minute, citing logistical problems caused by the hurricane. But the storm had already passed and the move prompted speculation—fanned by [Republican candidate Bob] Turner’s camp—that Weprin had dropped out to avoid taking heat for his debt screw-up the day before.

A little bad press will not sink a campaign. But one poll showed Weprin leading Turner by just six points before the gaffe machine went into overdrive. Democratic strategists still think Weprin’s going to win. But he’ll have to lean even more heavily on union support, milk a plum endorsement from The New York Times for all it’s worth, and go full-on negative. So far, that’s meant trying (and mostly failing) to link the apparently moderate Turner to the tea party. It’s a tough sell.

For his part, Turner has had no problem taking cheap shots at Weprin, using TV ads to tie him to the Cordoba House “controversy” and insinuating that Democrats are prepared to sell out Israel (Weprin is an Orthodox Jew). With the election’s close proximity to the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the candidates are expected to dial back the vitriol in their campaigns’ closing days.

Weiner’s district is considered a Dem stronghold. If Weprin loses, expect liberal pundits to sound the death knell for the party in 2012. Which, of course, would be a totally kneejerk, exaggerated reaction. But don’t forget: although it takes a team of dedicated, tireless strategists to win an election, it takes just one ill-prepared candidate to blow it. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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