It’s an old trope that politics makes for strange bedfellows, and right now there are none stranger than former mayor and Republican candidate for
Koch endorsed Turner in a press conference that could only be described as somewhat surreal Monday morning.
With both men standing behind a podium and smiling, Koch proceeded to tell a room full of reporters that his endorsement of Turner was designed to send a message to the Obama Administration with regard to its stance on Israel.
“I am here this morning to suggest that the contested race in the Ninth Congressional District be turned into a referendum allowing the voters of this district, the largest Jewish district in the country, to register a protest against the positions of President Obama and the Republican leadership,” Koch said in a written statement.
Koch then listed a litany of reasons why he disagreed with Republicans in Washington.
At one point, while Turner stood like a statue behind the microphone, the former New York City Mayor attacked the GOP for its current negotiations over the debt ceiling.
“I know Bob’s probably not going to jump in and agree with me,” Koch said. “I think the Republicans are scoundrels.”
Despite his personal feelings on the GOP, Koch said he is confident in his decision to throw his weight behind Turner.
“I believe there’s no better opportunity to send the kind of message, and make this election the kind of referendum that existed in Massachusetts,” Koch said, comparing the Ninth District’s election to the campaign that saw Scott Brown sent to the Senate in Ted Kennedy’s former seat.
“It had an enormous impact. There’s no question in my mind,” Koch added.
Even while Koch railed against Republicans in Congress while campaigning to add another to their ranks, Turner waited for his turn to thank Koch for his support.
“I accept this endorsement with humility and gratitude,” Turner said. “This, I think, may be the single factor when the votes are counted on the 13th, where they’ll say: ‘This is what put him over the top.’”
Turner added that he had enjoyed meeting with Koch over the course of a week so that the two could feel each other out.
“My hope, my expectation, is that the voters of the ninth C.D. will take this unique opportunity,” Koch said, “to send messages to the Democratic party, President Obama, and the Republican Party and its leadership, and that’s why I’m endorsing Bob Turner.”
campaign said they were planning to issue a response shortly. Weprin, who is Jewish, has also come out strongly in his support of Israel.