The September 13th special election to replace Anthony Weiner in Congress is getting closer—and more agressive—by the day. Last night the candidates met for a standing room-only 90-minute debate that reportedly was more heckling than substance, both sides are bumping up their campaign spending and some upset endorsements may be in the offing. Also? Turns out the Republican nominee, Bob Turner, adopted son with a tearjerking lineage. So let's break out the bullet points for five things to know about the election in New York's Ninth District!

  • The Gays Could Cost Weprin The Election: As we've mentioned, the fact that Assemblyman Dave Weprin is an outspoken supporter of marriage equality in the city continues to be a surprising problem for the pol. The lastest fallout? Prominent Orthodox Jewish Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind has announced he will not be endorsing his Democratic colleague. Worse for Weprin? There are rumors that Hikind, who thinks Weprin "crossed the line" by using "his Jewish orthodoxy to say gay marriage is OK," might even go so far as endorsing Turner. You might remember Hikind from that time during the marriage equality debates he invoked Lady Gaga to try and stir up some nays in the Assembly.
  • The Turners Once Adopted A Tabloid-Famous Child: So it turns out that Bob and Peggy Turner's 26-year-old son C.J. has a newsworthy lineage as his mother was Rosemary Holmstrom. Who? Holmstrom was a tabloid cause celebre in the 1980s, a HIV-positive woman whose husband died of the disease right before she was diagnosed. Her struggle to find a place for her young son (C.J.) eventually became the weepy Linda Hamilton USA TV movie A Mother's Prayer. The family who ended up with the boy had previously been unknown, but the story has come to light now that Turner is making his second bid to represent New York's Ninth District (we wonder if that story might have helped when he faced Weiner).
  • The Dems Are Making This All About Medicare: After successfully making the 26th District special election all about Medicare in May, the party is trying it again. The party has been flooding the Ninth District with flyers bashing Turner, some that don't even mention David Weprin by name. Instead they focus on lines like "Will we stop extremist Bob Turner from sticking seniors with a $6,400 bill?" At last night's debate Weprin kept that angle going, while also mocking Turner's fiscal agenda. “You can’t just cut, cut, cut,” he said. “We have to preserve Medicare and Social Security, and those programs that Americans rely on.”
  • The Republicans Are Making This All About Dumping The Status Quo: If the Dems can make it about Medicare, why can't the Republicans make it about political fatigue? Specifically, Turner is playing on the fact that folks are frustrated with our current president and politicians in general. At last night's debate Turner made this crystal clear when he painted himself as "a businessman, not a politician," a "citizen candidate" who isn't "tainted by a long career in politics" like David Weprin. "He's part of the system," Turner said. "And that's why he has to go."
  • The GOP Is Still Not Totally Sold On Turner's Chances: On the one hand, the RNC is reportedly planning on funding a "Phone From Home" get-out-the-vote effort as it senses "the opportunity for an upset," but on the other hand? The Journal today reports that "National Republican figures are reluctant to spend big money" on the campaign. While Turner has been polling better than some expected, the party has been "burnt by New York special elections," a former congressman told the paper. "It will take some very unusual circumstances to attract Washington Republicans to invest in this seat." They better get interested fast though, not much time till the votes start being counted!