The House Republicans aren’t putting their money where Bob Turner’s mouth is, yet

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Bob Turner and Ed Koch. (Dan Rosenblum)
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Republican Bob Turner may (or may not) be “neck and neck” in his race against David Weprin for Anthony Weiner’s old seat, but that has yet to translate into substantial financial support from the National Republican Congressional Committee.

With less than two weeks until the Sept. 13 special election, the National Republican Congressional Committee has donated only $5,000 to the campaign directly, and another five-figure sum to the campaign in what are known as coordinated expenditures to help cover campaign costs. 

It's not nothing. But it's not enough to indicate that this race is a great priority for them, either.

There are plenty of reasons that the NRCC might not consider this race a good investment, despite its apparent competitiveness.

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For one thing, the stakes here are less high than they might seem, since the district could well cease to exist after next year, when New York will lose two of its congressional seats in the congressional redistricting process. So while a win might have a lot of symbolic value for a national Republican Party eager to show that America hates Obama more than it hates the G.O.P.-led House, it wouldn't actually get them much else.

For another, it's quite possible that the NRCC, which has to make tough, zero-sum choices about where to put donor-money to work, simply doesn't believe what it's seeing in the polls. That is, NY-9 may be one of the most conservative districts in New York City, but it still contains three times as many registered Democrats as Republicans, which may simply be too much to overcome on Election Day. (The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district a D+5, meaning the district is still thought to “lean Democratic.”)

The NRCC is still considering its options, which could include a direct contribution, an independent expenditure of the sort that bought Republican Jane Corwin a $400,000 ad buy just nine days before her election, more coordinated expenditures, or, of course, nothing at all. 

“Polls continue to show that David Weprin is sinking because voters know he’s a career politician who wants more taxes and won’t help change the direction of our country," said NRCC spokesman Tory Mazzola, in a statement. "Beyond that, we don’t comment on internal strategy.” 

Asked about the possibility of further help from the NRCC, Turner spokesman Bill O'Reilly said, "We're grateful for the support we've received and are hopeful that the help will continue and grow in the final 10 days."