New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and former Mayor Ed Koch are locked in a war of words over the special election to fill disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s congressional seat.
Silver called Koch “totally out of line” for suggesting that Jews should vote for the Republican candidate in the Sept. 13 vote to elect a successor to Weiner, the New York Daily News reported Monday.
Koch recently called on Jews to defect to the GOP to send a message of disapproval to President Barack Obama over his handling of relations with Israel.
Silver conceded that Jews may be unhappy with the president’s stance, but insisted that sending a Republican to Congress from the heavily Democratic district would only make things worse.
“What we need is more Democrats who will go to bat for Israel, notwithstanding what a president may think,” Silver told the News.
The war of words between two of the state’s most well-known Jewish political figures came as the campaign for the open seat heats up.
Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens), an Orthodox Jew, is heavily favored to win the election. Republican Bob Turner, who ran a surprisingly strong race against Weiner in 2010, is running for the GOP.
Some pundits say whoever wins the seat will not be in Washington for long. New York is due to lose two Congressional seats to redistricting and many believe Weiner’s old seat will be chopped up to avoid sacrificing a longer-serving incumbent.
Weiner resigned amid a national scandal over his texting of racy photos.