The Queens Democratic County Organization just selected David Weprin to be the party’s nominee for the congressional seat vacated by Anthony Weiner.
Weprin is a freshman Assemblywman who served two terms in the City Council as its Finance Chairman before coming in last place in the Democratic primary for City Comptroller in 2009.
His father was Speaker of the Assembly for many years and his brother — a former Assemblyman — now holds David’s seat in the Council. He’s wonky, prone to long explanations about complicated financial matters, and has not carved out a maverick persona for himself, benefiting, rather, from close ties to one of the city’s strongest political machines.
The selection comes two days after a young, telegenic Republican candidate, Councilman Eric Ulrich, opted not to run for the seat, taking off the table one of the Democrats’ most formidable potential opponents. The district has many more Democrats than Republicans, but is among the most conservative in the city (second only to the seat represented by an actual Republican, Rep. Michael Grimm).
The seat is likely to be erased after redistricting next year, giving many potential candidates pause. But for Weprin, the shot at serving in Congress could be an adrenaline shot in a lengthy political career that veered somewhat off course with a stint in Albany.
As a freshman Assemblyman, the experienced and intelligent Weprin is stuck in a seniority-driven legislature where many of the decisions about legislative action are made solely by the Speaker, Governor and State Senate Leader.
With a stint in Congress, Weprin now has an admirable way to exit that position.
The problem with picking just any old Democrat for the seat was the fear that they might get used to Washington, and try to keep serving by running a primary against an already-serving lawmaker. One such lawmaker is Rep. Joe Crowley, who is also the head of the Queens County Democratic organization, and was primarily responsible for the pick.
Weprin, a loyal party guy, is an extremely unlikely candidate to run against Crowley, or any other congressman in the immediate vicinity–which, absent a real Republican challenger, was among the biggest factors in the county’s decision.