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Queens Chronicle

Turner lands spot on GOP primary ballot

Forces three-way race to take on Dem. Sen. Gillibrand in November

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Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:11 pm, Thu Mar 29, 2012.

He made it by the narrowest of margins, but Congressman Bob Turner (R-Queens and Brooklyn) will be on the June 26 ballot for the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

Turner garnered just over the 25 percent of the vote necessary at the Republican State Convention last Friday.

Wendy Long, a Manhattan attorney and conservative activist, won more than 47 percent of the vote, while George Maragos, the comptroller of Nassau County, won just over 27 percent.

Long, who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, subsequently won the endorsement of the state’s Conservative Party, which Turner also had sought.

The winner in June gets to take on freshman U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in November on the Republican line. In a statement issued on Saturday, Turner said he was delighted with the results, especially given his late entry into the fray.

“This was an amazing victory for a campaign that began just 72 hours ago,” Turner said Saturday. “I am enormously grateful for all the support I received at the convention and I am energized to deliver my message of job growth and fiscal responsibility in every corner of this state.”

Turner said Gillibrand “does not deserve re-election.”

“She has defrauded the voters of this state with promises that she would act as a moderate,” Turner said. “Instead she has governed from the far left, and is now ranked the most liberal senator in America. That is a firing offense.”

Turner said he will be going around the state to make his views known to the electorate.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Turner campaign spokeswoman Jessica Proud said the Gillibrand campaign’s attacks on him have tipped the senator’s hand.

“She began her attacks the moment Bob Turner announced his candidacy,” Proud said. “Bob Turner is the candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is most worried about facing.”

Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin said his boss has no preference for an opponent.

“Regardless of which candidate wins the three-way primary, the Republicans will have a far right nominee far out of step with New York values,” he said. “Senator Gillibrand looks forward to contrasting her vision of how to grow the economy for middle class families and her record of accomplishments reforming Washington and standing up for first responders, servicemembers and veterans against whomever is the nominee.”

Turner, a retired television executive, announced his candidacy last week when it became clear he would be rezoned out of his current 9th District.

He scored an upset win last September in a special election to fill the 9th District House seat vacated by the resignation of Democrat Anthony Weiner.

Gillibrand was an upstate congresswoman who was appointed in 2009 by then-Gov. David Patterson to fill out the unexpired term of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, who was appointed secretary of state by President Obama. Gillibrand won a special election to retain the seat until the term expires at the end of the year.

Calls to the Queens County and New York State Republican committees seeking comment were not returned.

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