By Anna Gustafson
With less than a month to go before November’s general election, the race between U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) and his Republican challenger, Bob Turner, is heating up as the candidates lob accusations of improprieties at each other.
Weiner’s camp has issued a number of releases calling Turner a “right-wing extremist,” while Turner has put out his own round of statements accusing Weiner of being a “desperate liar” who is attacking Turner without merit.
“Right-wing extremist Bob Turner thinks gambling senior’s Social Security on the stock market is right for the hardworking middle-class people of Brooklyn and Queens,” Weiner said in a release last week that also questioned the Republican candidate’s stances on education, taxes and abortion.
Matt Turner, a spokesman for Bob Turner’s campaign, said the release was an attempt to “completely distort” the candidate’s views.
Turner issued a press release this week in response to statements he said Weiner made about him wanting to cut Social Security and aid to Israel.
“Based on what I have seen from him thus far, it is no surprise to me that Anthony Weiner would make completely false statements about my position,” Turner said. “This is another example of how desperate he is to hold on to his seat.”
Turner last week picked up a number of endorsements from high-profile Republicans, including New York Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone).
The 9th Congressional District, which Weiner represents and for which Turner is vying, covers Bayside, Briarwood, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Hillcrest, Howard Beach, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Oakland Gardens, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Rockaway Park, Rockaway Point, Woodhaven and parts of Brooklyn.
While Turner has accused Weiner of being concerned about an anti-incumbent sentiment in the country, Weiner, who drew 93 percent of the vote in the 2008 election, has said he is not nervous about the Tea Party in New York.ï»¿
“Anthony is less concerned about labels than what candidates are fighting for,” said Risa Heller, a spokeswoman for Weiner. “Anthony is busy fighting for good jobs, sensible budget cuts, Israel and protecting Social Security. He knows some Tea Party candidates want to play politics right now but thinks it is more important to be working on our communities’ priorities and real solutions.”
Two weeks ago, the Queens County Young Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Elections Commission calling on government officials to investigate campaign finance filings by Turner, saying he had under-reported his expenditures in the last filing period.
According to online records, Turner’s campaign reported $2,900 in expenditures, while Weiner reported about $77,800 in expenditures during the same period. Turner has said his campaign did spend more, but there was an online glitch on the FEC’s website. While a Turner spokesman said the FEC confirmed this glitch with them, the FEC would not comment on the matter.
Matt Turner did say the FEC has asked them to clarify information they submitted about donors, including addresses, which they have until Oct. 26 to submit.
Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.