Since I was eligible to vote, I have never voted for a democrat in a general election. I am a blue blood conservative republican. In 2010, I ran as the republican and conservative candidate for the 6th Congressional District of New York. My law firm is the counsel to the Kings County Republican Party. Indeed, I and my partner have spent the better part of these past few weeks at the Board of Elections and in Supreme Court defending the Kings County Republican Party and its candidates.
I was an early supporter of Bob Turner for the 9th Congressional seat. Indeed, when the power struggle between New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich, his chief of staff Bart Haggerty and the Republican County Chairman Phil Ragusa threatened to derail the candidacy of Bob Turner, I did everything in my power to insure the selection of Bob Turner as the republican candidate. As soon as Bob Turner got the nod, I informed my sources in the media to get the word out. Despite my busy schedule as a partner in a law firm, I personally attended Bob Turner’s news conference in Forest Hills announcing his candidacy. As a good republican trooper and being the only religious Jew at the event, I stood on the stage behind Bob Turner and held up a sign that stated “Turner for Congress.” I provided them with their media moment, a religious Jew supporting Turner against the Orthodox Jew David Weprin.
I had daily contact with the campaign and Bob Turner. Bob Turner’s stances on many issues from medicare to Israel was heavily influenced by my suggestions. I even wrote a scathing piece on David Weprin, which was published in an influential Orthodox Jewish newspaper, the Five Towns Jewish Times. The article was posted on the number one orthodox Jewish website, Yeshiva World.com. As the editor of the Five Towns Jewish Times is a close friend and political supporter, I lobbied him to support Bob Turner. As a result, the editor of the Five Towns Jewish Times, Larry Gordon, did an anti Weprin, pro-Turner piece.
Being a good republican, I blocked out everything negative I observed in the Turner campaign and accentuated the positive. The more involved I became with the campaign, the more it became painfully obvious that Bob Turner was not going to win. To win this election, Bob Turner needs to win big in his base of Breezy, Rockaway , Howard Beach, Ozone and Woodhaven and win the Orthodox Jewish vote. Bob Turner has failed miserably with regards to Orthodox Jews. Turner has all the right phrases, but as of yet has shown no substance.
In truth it is not Bob Turner’s fault. Bob Turner lives in Breezy Point. Breezy Point is a segregated community. No African-Americans, Hispanics, foreigners and only a token Jew are allowed to live there. Religious Jews would not be tolerated in Breezy Point. Breezy Point is a cooperative and the Board controls who is allowed to move in. Living in Breezy and his lack of having Orthodox Jews as neighbors has hampered his campaign and his understanding of the Orthodox Jewish community.
As a result of his lack of interaction with Jews, Bob Turner has never been involved in any Jewish organizations and is completely ignorant of the needs of the Jewish community. I am not faulting him for his lack of knowledge, it is simply that in his seventy years on this planet he did not have to deal with Jewish causes or Israel. Yes, he now claims he is an ardent supporter of Israel and Jewish Causes, but when has he ever done anything that proves that this is true.
As a republican, I see this as a wasted opportunity. Weprin is vulnerable in the Orthodox Jewish Community, but Turner has yet to prove that he can be an advocate for Orthodox Jews. Orthodox Jews have many unique needs and we need a congressman who understands our community. The Jewish orthodox community will throw their support behind any candidate that will support Israel and support Jewish causes. David Weprin is a proven fighter for the State of Israel and Jewish causes. If it is going to come between Bob Turner’s promises and David Weprin’s actions, Weprin will win in a landslide.
What does Bob Turner need to do to prove that he is serious about Israel and the Orthodox Jewish community; Follow the advice I have given him from the moment he received the nomination?
1. Bob Turner needs to go to Israel now. He needs to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Israeli officials to discuss the needs of the Jewish State. He should take a tour of the West Bank and the border towns and see the threat to Israel, up front and personal.
2. Bob Turner should meet with the leading Orthodox Rabbi’s and lay leaders in Israel and the United States to discuss the needs of his future constituents.
3. Bob Turner has to include orthodox Jews in the top echelon of his campaign. The lack of having a single Orthodox Jew as a high level campaign staffer is very telling to the Jewish community and one of the many reasons for the disconnect between Bob Turner and the Orthodox Jewish community.
4. Bob Turner has to start personally campaigning in Orthodox areas in a serious fashion. He can not leave it to campaign staff, surrogates or the media. Orthodox Jews are smart, they want to see the man, not an artificial message. If you are serious about the Orthodox vote, then go out and meet the people.
There are only four weeks left to the election. Bob Turner has his work cut out for him.
Asher E. Taub, Esq. is a former congressional candidate and aide to Bob Turner, and Former Republican Candidate for NY CD-6
NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.