By Howard Koplowitz
Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner picked up the second high-profile endorsement of his campaign when he was backed Sunday by U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Massapequa Park) at Joe Abbracciamento’s Restaurant in Rego Park as his opponent, state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck) was endorsed by the state’s largest private sector union.
King’s endorsement of Turner comes a week after the retired Rockaway businessman was endorsed by former Democratic New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
King said he was supporting Turner because of his position on Israel and his business experience.
“I’m proud to endorse Bob Turner,” King said during an impromptu news conference inside the Rego Park restaurant on Woodhaven Boulevard, noting that he backed Turner in 2010 against then-Rep. Anthony Weiner.
Weiner resigned amid a sexting scandal two months ago and defeated Turner 60 percent to 40 percent last year.
“It’s a whole new world now and [Turner] has a very good chance of winning,” said King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Turner and his Democratic opponent, state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Little Neck), both disagree with President Barack Obama’s stance that Israel should go back to its pre-1967 war borders as a condition of negotiating with the Palestinians.
But King said if Turner is elected, it would be a rebuke of Obama’s “terrible policy toward Israel.”
“It would send shockwaves through the Obama administration that [Turner] would win in a district that has a large Jewish population,” the congressman said. “It will have such an impact. It will be like when Scott Brown was elected. I’m looking forward to a great victory.”
King was referring to U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who won in an upset to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts.
Both Turner and Weprin, an Orthodox Jew, are vying for Jewish votes in the district, particularly in Forest Hills, Rego Park and areas of Brooklyn.
Turner said he was “grateful and happy and proud” to have King’s endorsement again.
“Congressman King has been a stand-up guy and one of the bright figures in this Congress,” Turner said.
Weprin (D-Little Neck) and Assembly candidates Phil Goldfeder and Michael Simanowitz received the backing of 32BJ last week.
Goldfeder is the Democratic candidate vying to fill the seat held by Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, who left office to take the vacant Queens county clerk position. Simanowitz is running to succeed his boss, former Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, who retired after nearly 30 years in Albany.
“Now more than ever, New York needs elected officials who represent the interests of working families,” said 32BJ/SEIU President Mike Fishman in a statement. “These candidates will help to take the steps necessary to improve our economy and the lives of working men and women.”
About 70,000 New Yorkers are members of 32BJ, the largest property services union in the country and the largest private sector union in the state. There are about 120,000 members of the union in the country.
Simanowitz, who was Mayersohn’s chief of staff for 15 years before she retired in April, said he was honored to have 32BJ’s endorsement.
“I have always stood behind working men and women in Queens and I look forward to their members’ support on Sept. 13 and beyond to keep our community the best place to raise our families,” he said.
Simanowitz is also the commanding officer of the 107th Precinct’s auxiliary unit, a position he has held for nine years.
He is running against Republican Marco DeSena in the special election while Goldfeder, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is being challenged by Republican District Leader Jane Deacy.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.