Clinton-Cuomo robo-calls not likely to rescue Weprin

Former President Bill Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recorded robo-calls to run today and tomorrow to express support for Democrat David Weprin in Weprin’s race against Republican Bob Turner to replace disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th Congressional district. The Daily Caller reports the content of the calls:

“I’ve known David for many years, and I’ve known him to be a leader who stands up for what’s right. In Congress he’ll stand up for middle class families and he’ll fight to preserve Social Security and Medicare. David will bring jobs to New York and get our economy moving. That’s why he’s also been endorsed by the New York Times,” says Cuomo, in a call that voters will receive on Monday.

Cuomo is an incredibly popular governor in the district, with a 59 percent approval rating and just 16 percent of residents disapproving.

“The New York Times endorsed David. They support him for the same reasons I do: because he’ll stand up for the middle class, he’ll support a good program to put Americans back to work, and he’ll oppose the Tea Party plan to destroy Medicare,” says Clinton, in a call that will run on Tuesday.

As those calls indicate, Weprin wants a repeat of the results in the NY-26 special election, when Democrat Kathy Hochul beat Republican Jane Corwin in a race almost entirely devoted to Medicare. But the Cuomo-Clinton calls aren’t enough to make that happen. As Ed wrote, Weprin’s not likely to share Hochul’s success — and it’s not because Republicans have learned how to sell entitlement reform. It’s because Obama’s disapproval ratings are dragging Weprin down — and maybe, just maybe, because NY-9 cares more about social issues than pundits popularly discuss.

The National Organization of Marriage has hit the NY-9 special election particularly hard, reminding voters that Weprin was a “yes” vote when the New York legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year. Anecdotal evidence suggests even some Democrats felt betrayed by that vote. Matt Lewis with more:

[Weprin] further incensed leaders in the Orthodox Jewish community — usually reliable Democratic votes — by claiming his orthodox faith was a rationale for voting to legalize same-sex marriage. In response, Queens Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, even crossed party lines to endorse Republican Bob Turner.

But New York liberals like Weprin are beginning to see problems arise among other blocs, too. As the New York Times reports, “Larry Yang, the Korean-American owner of a hardware store,” in Queens was opposed to a public advertisement for same-sex weddings in his neighborhood and “many among the large number of Korean-American Christians in Queens felt similarly but feared that if they spoke out they would be demonized by a liberal majority.”

While conservatives have long worried that immigration and changing demographics would harm them politically, social issues may prove to be the wedge that could be the GOP’s saving grace.

“If [the Democrat] loses, it will be because of the demographics,” says Hank Sheinkopf, a New York Democratic consultant.

It might not be as popular to talk about as jobs and the economy, but marriage still matters — even politically.

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