Bob Turner, a 70-year-old Republican, claimed victory Tuesday in the race for the New York congressional seat formerly held by Democrat Anthony Weiner.
Bob Turner would be the first Republican to represent the district, which includes parts of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, since the 1920s, The New York Times reported. His opponent, David I. Weprin, refused to concede, telling supporters, "Hopefully, we can still pull this out."
The close race in a district where Democrats usually win with ease appeared to be a result of voter concerns over the economy. Some voters in the heavily Jewish district are also unhappy with President Obama's Israel policy, and former Mayor Ed Koch urged Jewish Democrats to vote for Turner.
"I am a registered Democrat, I have always been a registered Democrat, I come from a family of Democrats -- and I hate to say this, I voted Republican," Linda Goldberg, a 61-year-old Queens resident, told the Times. "I need to send a message to the president that he's not doing a very good job. Our economy is horrible. People are scared."
Turner described the outcome as a harbinger of an Obama rout next year.
"We have lit one candle today," he said. "It's going to be a bonfire pretty soon."
Weiner resigned this year after admitting he sent sexually explicit photos of himself on Twitter.
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