The chief Democrat tasked with winning back the House majority in 2012 shrugged off the GOP’s upset in the special election in New York’s 9th Congressional district Tuesday in which Republican Bob Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin in a race to fill the seat of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.
When asked whether Turner’s win represents a rebuke of President Obama’s jobs proposal, Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told ABC News that “you can’t judge the national mood based by what’s happening in one district in one day.”
“That was a very specific election on a very particular day, based on a specific set of circumstances,” Israel said. “The American people are not interested in who won or lost a special election, they’re interested in who is going to put them back to work.”
Shortly after Turner was declared the winner Tuesday night in a district that had not been won by a House Republican since Woodrow Wilson was president, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the upset a “strong warning to the Democrats” to shift the direction of their agenda.
“New Yorkers have delivered a strong warning to the Democrats who control the levers of power in our federal government,” Boehner said in a statement. “It’s time to scrap the failed ‘stimulus’ agenda and the misguided policies on Israel and focus on getting America back to creating jobs again.”
Republicans also won a blowout 22-point victory in Nevada’s special election to replace Sen. Dean Heller.
Israel said he disagrees with the speaker’s assessment of the magnitude of the results and what they might mean for the 2012 election. “Democrats will win the jobs debate in 2012 not based on any messaging, but based on the reality that we consistently provide ideas,” he said.
The real message here is you’ve got Republicans who have consistently opposed bills to create small businesses and generate jobs, even though some of those ideas are their own, and you have House Democrats and a Democratic president who want to create conditions so that small businesses can generate jobs. At the end of the day, people are going to vote for the jobs creators, not the jobs obstructionists.”
“The president has produced a jobs bill and said let’s negotiate, let’s compromise,” Israel said of Obama’s ‘American Jobs Act.’ “The American people do not want excuses not to act. They just want us to act.”