NY-9 is, and has always been, a conservative Democratic district. As in, Reagan Democrats. Not just because it contains many observant Jews, but also places like Howard Beach.
So, how did it end up being represented by a liberal firebrand like Anthony Weiner for 6 terms? First, because Weiner's firebrand liberalism is pretty recent. He was an unquestioning supporter of Israel throughout his House career, and only started making liberal noises on other issues when he thought about challenging Bloomberg for mayor in 2005. He was a supporter of the war in Iraq long after most other NYC Democrats had withdrawn their support (if, indeed, they had ever supported it), and was considered conservative enough that he barely won my (very progressive) Democratic Club's endorsement in that race (he later dropped out after it became clear that Bloomberg would have spent whatever it took to defeat him). So he was much more in tune with his district ideologically than it would appear at first glance. Second, his constituent services were superb.
Bob Turner isn't such a bozo as all that. You can hear an interview with him here that will give you some idea of his appeal as a candidate. Of course I disagree with him on practically every issue you could think of; I probably disagree with him about what color the sky is. But I can recognize campaigning ability despite that.
He ran again Weiner last time out and got 40% of the vote; in a race against a 5-term House incumbent, that's not too shabby. In fact, I would say it points to an incumbent in trouble.
Weiner knew his high-profile liberalism was playing with fire in his district, but he was planning on running for mayor in 2013, and he also knew that the district was likely to be erased in next year's redistricting. His public image was meant for NYC as a whole, which is far more liberal than his district.
I fully expect that Turner will be history in 14 months, when the district vanishes.
Weprin is a terrible candidate, and the guy who gave him the nomination knows it. Weprin's in politics because it's the family business, and he's the least gifted member of the family. You can hear an interview with Weprin here that will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about his abilities as a campaigner. When he ran for NYC Controller last year, my very progressive State Assemblyman endorsed him, and asked my Democratic Club to do so as well. We would have loved to follow his lead, but after interviewing Weprin, we found him to have such uninspiring public presence that we just couldn't endorse him, even at the risk of incurring our beloved assemblyman's displeasure.
People like Koch and Giuliani sticking their 2¢ in didn't help, but they weren't the most important factor. It wouldn't matter how good Weprin would have been at the job if he couldn't win it in the first place.
Weprin was given the nomination by the Queens County Democratic party Chairman, Joe Crowley, because Crowley wanted to make sure that when the 9th gets disappeared in the upcoming redistricting, the "orphaned" incumbent wouldn't be strong enough to challenge any of the more established incumbents in the adjoining districts. That's no way to win a race you really want to win, and it should also provoke a discussion about how nominees for special elections are chosen in NYC.
So, if you want to blame anyone for this loss, blame Joe Crowley. He outsmarted himself.