Accusations of dirty tricks fly on New York special-election day

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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As voters go to the polls in a surprisingly competitive special election in New York’s 9th Congressional District, accusations of dirty tricks have begun to fly.

The campaign of Democrat David Weprin sent out a press release Tuesday accusing supporters of Republican Bob Turner of organizing an effort to jam the Weprin campaign’s phones. In response, Turner communications director William O’Reilly noted that Jewish residents of the district were receiving phone calls from a phony group calling itself “Jews for Jesus for Turner,” which he called an attempt to scare Jewish voters.

“At roughly 3:00 a.m. this morning, Bob Turner’s Republican allies sent a mass text message to voters telling them to call the David Weprin for Congress campaign office in a blatant attempt at phone jamming,” the Weprin campaign emailed. “It appears that the recipients were not willing recipients of the 3:00 a.m. texts. This appears similar to phone jamming done by the New Hampshire Republican Party and a Republican consultant in Virginia in 2002 that resulted in the Republicans going to jail.”

“Bob Turner’s Republican allies are pulling dirty tricks in a blatant attempt to steal this election because they are afraid that Democrats’ turnout operation will get voters who want to protect Medicare and Social Security to the polls,” said Elizabeth Kerr, spokeswoman for the Weprin Campaign. “It is outrageous that Bob Turner’s allies would resort to jamming our phones in an effort to prevent our campaign from contacting voters and getting out the message about how radical Bob Turner really is. Republicans participating in phone jamming in the past have landed in jail, and there must be a full investigation into the Republican phone jamming campaign.”

O’Reilly called the accusations “Nonsense.”

“We are busy talking to voters. We have neither the interest nor the inclination to play grade school games. Mr. Weprin must have 25 phone banks working. This sounds more like an election day smoke screen for Weprin campaign mistakes,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Caller.

“While we’re on the subject, though, Mr. Weprin might want to explain why a manufactured group calling itself ‘Jews for Jesus for Turner’ is calling into Jewish precincts to suppress Turner support. There is no such group. This is one of the many shenanigans we are dealing with today,” O’Reilly added.

Weprin and Turner are locked in a surprisingly tight competition to fill the house seat vacated by Anthony Weiner, following the revelation that he had sent pictures of his genitals to, and engaged in sexual discussions with, women he met on the Internet.

The last two polls found Turner leading by six points, despite the Democratic voter registration advantage in the district.

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