Republican congressional candidate Bob Turner slammed Democratic opponent David Weprin as a “political hack” yesterday while snagging a key endorsement from an influential Brooklyn Democrat.
State Assemblyman Dov Hikind will cross party lines today to back Turner in the special election next Tuesday to replace disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the GOP candidate’s aides said.
The defection of Hikind, a conservative Jew with influence in Brooklyn’s Orthodox community, will be a blow to Assemblyman Weprin (Queens).
The two have served together in the Assembly and have traveled together to Israel.
Hikind said he was upset with Weprin’s vote for gay marriage.
He’s the second prominent Democrat to cross party lines for Turner, after former Mayor Ed Koch, who wants the election seen as a referendum on President Obama’s policies on Israei.
Turner, a retired TV executive, lashed out at Weprin while accepting the endorsement of former GOP Gov. George Pataki.
“This is an important distinction. I am a business person with a practical viewpoint, versus a political hack who toed the party line too long, has no original ideas and does what he’s told. We’ve had enough of that,’’ Turner said during the press event at Grand Central Terminal.
Turner also linked Weprin to Obama, who has proven unpopular in the relatively conservative Queens-Brooklyn congressional district.
Weprin, in turn, rapped Turner as a disciple of Tea Party Republicans.
Pataki said Turner could win over Democrats, just as Pataki did to win statewide office three times.
“I’m urging those same Democrats to show the courage and strength of the past and put party aside and vote for their community, vote for their family, vote for their future ... vote for Bob Turner,” he said.
A debate last night in Howard Beach attracted a heated crowd for both sides. A man was ejected after heckling Weprin as the Democrat blamed the Tea Party for the debt-ceiling fiasco.
At one point, Turner was asked which tax loopholes he’d close.
“As a Republican,’’ he quipped, “I never met a loophole I didn’t like.’’
Weprin, who spent much of the campaign distancing himself from Obama, was asked whether he’d support the president’s re-election. He said, “Yes.’’’
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