ALBANY – Rep. Bob Turner (R-Rockaway Point), with his congressional district likely to be cannibalized out of existence due to redistricting, announced Tuesday he instead will run for U.S. Senate.
He becomes the fourth Republican – and with the highest profile by far – to jump in the race against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Turner made the leap just three days before the Republican state convention in Rochester.
Turner became a darling of New York Republicans last fall when he scored a stunning upset to replace disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens) in a heavily Democratic Queens-Brooklyn district. But New York must shrink its congressional delegation from 29 to 27 and a redistricting proposal advance this week by a federal magistrate would effectively eliminate Turner’s district and force him into a primary against Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens).
Turner cited that development as spurring his decision -- some Republicans had encouraged him to drop the fight for the congressional seat.
“I ran for the House six months ago as a private citizen fed up with what is happening in Washington,” Turner said in a statement. “I could not sit and watch career politicians sink my nation deeper into economic crisis. Brooklyn and Queens voters, of all political parties, graciously responded by sending me to Congress. It now appears that their district has been eliminated.”
He continued: “There is serious work to be done to get this economy back on track, and I will not walk away from that work now. I will run for the Senate, and I will run to win.”
In the Republican field, Turner joins Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, Manhattan attorney Wendy Long and Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin.