Updated 02/08/2010 09:36 PM
Queens Special Election Enters Final Stretch
The calendar might say February, but it’s election season in parts of eastern Queens where voters heading to the polls Tuesday will find a familiar name on the ballot. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
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David Weprin is trying to keep the streak alive. For almost 40 years, the state Assembly seat in Queens' 24th Assembly District has been held by a family member -- first, his father, Saul Weprin then his brother, Mark Weprin. Now, David Weprin, is hoping to uphold the family tradition and win the seat in a special election Tuesday.
"I’m not running away from my family name. I’m very proud of my family history of public service, particularly in this area of Queens," Weprin said.
If Weprin wins, he and his brother will be essentially swapping jobs. When David Weprin left the City Council last year to run for city comptroller, Mark Weprin ran for, and won, his council seat, leaving vacant the Assembly seat David is now seeking.
Standing in his way is civic activist Bob Friedrich, longtime president of the Glen Oaks Village co-op, who says voters are ready for change.
"The Weprins, who are trying to do this seat-swapping, flip-flopping, musical-chairs maneuver, I think is offensive. And people truly are looking for change here," Friedrich said.
In recent days, Friedrich has seized on a Weprin campaign mailer that features a swastika and calls Friedrich an extremist. The Weprin camp says it draws attention to the fact Friedrich opposes hate crime legislation. Friedrich calls it repugnant and vile.
"The state is dysfunctional. We need new leadership. We need people coming out of the civics. I think someone who mails out a poster with a Nazi swastika and other symbolism really shows a complete lack of judgment," Friedrich said.
Friedrich is a lifelong Democrat, but was able to get on the ballot only by running on the Republican and Conservative Party lines. He says he'll be independent, but Weprin says Friedrich will be compromised and cites his own government experience as an advantage.
"There’s no question Albany needs fixing, but it needs fixing from the inside. You need someone that is able to build bridges, that knows the system, that knows people, and I hope that I will go up there and not be your average freshman," Weprin said.
Whoever wins Tuesday’s special election, they will only have the seat through the end of the year and will have to run again this fall in order to win election to a full two-year term.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and will stay open through 9 p.m.