You’ll remember former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned from the House of Representatives in disgrace after his curious on-line conduct and later misrepresentations about it were disclosed to the American public. His sordid tale dominated the airwaves in June.
Tomorrow a special election will be held to replace Weiner. His New York City district formerly was viewed as safely Democratic — it covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens, and was the political springboard for current New York Senator Chuck Schumer — but now polls indicate that the Republican candidate may actually win. Such a result would send shock waves through the Democratic Party and might cause more Democrats to begin questioning President Obama and his leadership of the party.
The old saying is that all politics is local, and local issues have been important in this race. The district includes a large Jewish population, and Republican Bob Turner has urged them to send a message to President Obama about his policies toward Israel. The polling also indicates, however, that President Obama’s general unpopularity may be a drag on the Democratic candidate, David Weprin. The President carried the district by 11 percentage points in 2008, but a recent poll indicates that he now is viewed unfavorably by 54 percent of respondents, including 38 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents.
You normally can’t make too much out of a special election to replace a politician who resigned amidst scandal, but tomorrow’s special election could be an exception to that rule. If a safe Democratic seat flips to the Republicans, it may be a sign of greater voter unrest, and larger political waves, at work in America.