**A Post by Shifra**
After my last post, the comments from the TAMS, as well as tweets and DM’s, were much appreciated. And very gratifying.
But one tweet in particular caught my attention: “Loved ur post on tammybruce.com. Stay fierce.”
I was very flattered.
Then I started feeling guilty.
Because I had omitted a story. I had figured the story was too long. It would detract from the overall theme of my post.
And, I had to admit: the story did not make me sound very “fierce.”
But now, I’ve brought it up, so here goes:
In June 2011, NY Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned, following his unspeakably absurd twitter escapade. A special run-off election was announced for September, for NY District 9.
As you probably know, NY State is heavily Democrat. As is NYC. So much so, that I didn’t pay much attention to local politics. I thought: Why bother? It always goes Democrat.
But now, I was paying attention. Looked it up on the internet, and there was our block, in the borough of Queens, right in the middle of District 9. (This District has been in Democrat hands since 1923.)
In the beginning of the summer, I got a phone call from my brother-in-law. (He and my sister live in Brooklyn, but oddly enough, their neighborhood is also in District 9. Crazy NYC gerrymandering.)
My brother-in-law had attended a Brooklyn meeting with Bob Turner, Republican candidate for Weiner’s Congressional seat. (Here, I will call my brother-in-law “Max,” not his real name; he is a quiet, modest guy and probably would not want me to tell you about him.) Max had an idea, and he asked for my help.
“We need to get Bob Turner elected,” he said. “We?” I thought. What exactly did he have in mind?
“Call every Queens rabbi in District 9, and…”
I cut him off. “Why?” I asked.
“To get them on board,” Max explained. “Get the Republican in Weiner’s Congressional seat.”
“Max,” I tried to explain, “ everyone I know is voting Republican. Don’t worry.”
I really didn’t want to do this. I was busy. And how would making some phone calls change the outcome of the election?
But Max had a plan. And, since it was the summer, he had time on his hands. He had lost his job as a systems analyst, and was now working part-time teaching math at a local high school.
Max spent the summer calling every rabbi in the Brooklyn section of District 9. He then obtained membership lists of every synagogue. All twenty-eight of them. Max contacted every person on each list. Some got phone calls. The elderly ones got personal visits from Max.
He let them know that this election was not just a local one. The White House was watching. It would send a powerful message to Team Obama. Too much was at stake.
On Tuesday, September 13, 2011, we went to our polling place. Turn-out seemed moderate, but that’s usually what happens when a special election is called.
Brooklyn, however, was different.
There were several other local run-off elections. Some of the polling places were overrun with voters, and exasperated polling workers had placed large signs outside the buildings:
Please be advised that if this is your polling place, this is NOT District 9. You CANNOT vote for the Congressional seat.
Republican Bob Turner won the seat, 54-46.
(But his victory was “lopsided.” Turner carried Brooklyn, 67-33, but the Democrat, David Weprin, carried Queens, 52-47. Bravo, Max!)
On the night of the election, Bob Turner’s campaign manager called Max. “You need to be here,” he said. “We did it, with your help.”
Senator Charles Schumer, who had previously held the District 9 Congressional seat, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, tried to downplay the Republican victory.
They sounded worried. And they should be.
The day after he won, Bob Turner spoke to Megyn Kelly about the significance of his win as a harbinger for the November 2012 election.
But I think Burt Prelutsky said it best, in his post, A Very Special Election.
And one more thing about the “stay fierce” tweet:
I became “fierce” when I started listening to Tammy’s show.
But how I discovered Tammy on terrestrial radio, how I met Tammy, and how I became a TAM…that really is another story!