Two Chances for the GOP
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The special elections on September 13 include two in which there is a possibility of bringing in Republicans to fill seats taken for granted by Democrats. One of them, to fill the seat vacated by Congressman Anthony Weiner, features a Republican, in Robert Turner, who has come within six points of a Weiner-like Democrat, David Weprin, according to the latest poll. In the other, a Republican, Paul Niehaus, is running on the Upper East Side of Manhattan against a union-backed Democrat, Daniel Quart, to fill the seat in the state assembly vacated by Jonathan Bing, when he resigned to join Governor Cuomo’s administration.
For the Sun the endorsement of the two Republicans is an easy one, though we don’t have illusions about the difficulties they face — particularly in respect of the Assembly. Even during last year’s “anti-incumbent” tide, 96% of New York City legislators were returned to office. When a legislator retires, his successor is picked by party leadership, ensuring that the same failed policies are perpetuated by the new representative. New York City seats have become sinecures for party loyalists, and in Manhattan the only party represented is the Democratic Party. As a general matter, one-party rule encourages extremism and corruption.
Voters in the 73rd Assembly District on Manhattan’s Upper East Side have a particularly nifty chance to change that. Mr. Niehaus made a solid showing when he challenged Mr. Bing in November of last year, and he immediately announced his candidacy when Mr. Bing quit to join the Cuomo administration. Educated at Princeton and the University of Chicago Law School, Mr. Niehaus has focused his campaign on the fiscal challenges facing New York State. He wants to repeal the jobs-killing MCTMT employment tax, reduce the highest income taxes in the country, and rein in ballooning state pension costs.
His opponent, Mr. Quart, is offering a platform that amounts to “Dan Quart: Democrat,” although he is also the candidate of the labor union-funded Working Families Party. Neither Mr. Quart’s website nor his literature sets forth policy proposals. Instead, he focuses on his “endorsements,” which come from incumbent Democrats and local unions. In other words, Mr. Quart is promising to provide more of the same, even as New York hemorrhages jobs and as taxpayer emigrate. Breaking the current Democratic monopoly on Manhattan would send a tremendous signal throughout the state.
Meantime in Congressman Weiner’s district, there is what the New York Times is characterizing as “surprising anger” at President Obama. We have no doubt there is anger. But what is surprising about it is beyond us. There is a growing sense, from Alaska to Alabama and from Maine to Hawaii that the President’s policies — and those of the Democratic leadership in the Congress between 2006 and 2010 — have a great deal to do with the failure of our economy to pull out of the Great Recession and with persistence of the high levels of unemployment. And now the specter of stagflation, a phenomenon we haven’t, heretofore seen, since the days of President Carter.
It happens that these columns were not among those calling for Mr. Weiner to resign in the face of the scandal he brought upon himself. We’d have preferred his fate be left to the voters of his district. Had he stuck with it, though, we’d have been saying in 2012 what we’re inclined to say in the special election next month. What a wonderful signal it would send to the Congress were the voters in the heart of New York City to revoke the Democratic party’s mandate in the district and announce its preparedness to go with a Republican. Both Messrs. Turner and Niehaus have our endorsement for what we can imagine being the start of a revival of the Republican Party in the Empire State.