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Weprin Goes on TV as NY Race Moves to Leans Democratic

Democrat David Weprin’s campaign announced a new TV ad today as part of “a major media buy” in the closing days of the contentious special election in New York’s 9th district.

To an upbeat soundtrack, the TV spot connects his opponent, Republican Bob Turner, with the tea party movement, says Turner would “force a reduction in benefits for those on Social Security and Medicare” and emphasizes the New York Times’ endorsement of Weprin.

“Hey, New York City,” the narrator says. “Don’t get burned by Bob Turner and his tea party budget ideas.”

The Weprin campaign has mostly kept its messaging in line with the national Democratic strategy of emphasizing protection of the popular entitlement programs and contrasting that with what it sees as the GOP plan to “decimate” them.

Recent polling has shown a potentially tight race. But a source familiar with the Weprin campaign strategy said the plan was always to go up on the air “with the appropriate buy” in the week before the Sept. 13 election.

National Journal reported that the TV ad buy will total $260,000 on cable and broadcast.

The ad will run through Sept. 12 but will not air Sunday on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, a Democratic source told Roll Call.

The announcement of the ad comes the same day Democratic New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind endorsed Turner in the race to fill former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D) seat.

The Tea Party Express also sent out an email Wednesday to supporters, encouraging support for Turner because “there’s a real possibility for a conservative to take Weiner’s seat!”

The momentum in the race appears to be behind Turner less than a week before the election. While it still appears more likely than not that Weprin will pull out a victory in the strongly Democratic district — he has significant support from organized labor, which can mount a substantial get-out-the-vote effort and has a decided monetary advantage — Roll Call is changing its rating of the race from Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic.

In an interview, Hikind explained his decision to cross party lines.

“It’s a rare opportunity for me and people in my community to send an incredibly powerful message to the Obama administration that we are so disillusioned with what’s going on in Washington in terms of the economy,” Hikind said. He noted his community was deeply displeased with the president’s stance toward Israel and said that “family values issues” were also important. Weprin voted in favor of the gay marriage bill in the state Assembly earlier this year; Hikind voted against it.

“I just like Turner on a lot of different levels,” he said.

It is unclear how the endorsement from Hikind, an influential Orthodox Jew who represents a swath of Brooklyn that only includes a bit of the 9th district, might effect the race. Weprin is also an Orthodox Jew.

“David Weprin, there’s nothing I want to say that’s negative about him,” Hikind said, calling him a “nice guy.”

But Hikind, who endorsed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election but said he supports his party’s candidates 95 percent of the time, later asked rhetorically: “Why do we automatically have to support [a] person just because they are a Democrat? I mean, if Mickey Mouse was on the line, do we automatically support him because he is the big D?

“David is a nice guy,” Hikind said. “He’s a nice guy, period.”

Discussing the issues of the campaign, Hikind took an unusual line for a Democrat. “I resent the scare tactics of my party when it comes to Social Security and Medicare,” he said, noting he got “three pieces of literature” at his house recently.

In the New York City district, where ad buys are extremely expensive, direct mail appears to have been used extensively by both campaigns until Weprin’s ad buy this week.

Weprin insiders noted the geography of Hikind’s district versus the 9th.

“Dov Hikind represents a miniscule portion of voters in our district,” said a source close to Weprin.

Watch Weprin’s ad:

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