2012-06-20 / Features

Will Turner Win GOP Primary, Then Take Historic U.S. Senate Seat?

BY JOHN TOSCANO


Turner has led his two primary opponents in every poll during the past three months, so his being a congressmember is obviously giving him enough push to be clear of them. Turner has led his two primary opponents in every poll during the past three months, so his being a congressmember is obviously giving him enough push to be clear of them. Last September, Breezy Point’s Bob Turner sprang a huge surprise and gave Queens Republicans a rare seat in the New York City Congressional delegation.

Now, only 10 month’s later, the 70-year-old congressmember is in a position to take next Tuesday’s GOP primary and give him the chance to win a U.S. Senate seat in November by upending Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand.

That sounds like a record romp to us, moving from Congress to a seat in the upper house in 15 months, figuring being sworn in next January.

Let’s take it step by step.

Next Tuesday, June 26, Turner will face two opponents in quest of the Republican nomination to become the candidate against Gillibrand.

Turner’s primary opponents are:

•George Maragos, 63, the Comptroller of Nassau County, who’s making his second attempt to win a U.S. Senate seat, but has been polling behind Turner, and

•Wendy Long, a Manhattan attorney who’s the third candidate in the field. This is her first run for office and she already has the Conservative Party endorsement.

Let’s make it clear at the start that Gillibrand, who’s been in the Senate since 2009 by appointment, but then defeated a Republican in 2010, has been polling far ahead of any of the three Republicans and has a huge campaign war chest. She looks hard to beat at this point.

As for the primary, though, Turner appears to us to be in a good position to win it. Consider: he has already won an election against a Democrat, Assemblymember David Weprin, who was favored to win, but Turner pulled the upset.

Turner has led his two primary opponents in every poll during the past three months, so his being a congressmember is obviously giving him enough push to be clear of them.

Long, despite this being her first election try, has won the backing of more Republican county chairpersons, so there should be a broad effort going for her on primary day. Also, her campaign team is loaded with former officials from former Governor George Pataki’s administrations who’ve been in winning statewide elections, which also raises some hope for Long.

Maragos, who has trailed in most polls, takes some comfort from the fact that neither Turner or Long is very far ahead of him. But the comptroller has been pointing for this race the longest, and still hasn’t been able to get any momentum going.

As for a Turner vs. Gillibrand race, Turner indicated in a published interview in Newsday back in April that he might again use the same tactic from his winning congressional race, running against President Obama. But instead of attacking the president’s anti-Israel policies, he explained: “My job…is to connect her voting record and her positions” with “failing policies” of the Obama Administration.

However, Turner does have a voting record that he can use in the GOP primary and the U.S. Senate election, if he gets into it. And that generally follows the House anti-Obama party line. He is strongly opposed to the Obamacare health care program, and also opposes the president’s tax-therich proposals. We think eventually he’ll resort to his record because it’s as anti-Obama as a Republican can get.

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