Mark Weprin declined to make a campaign for U.S. Congress official this afternoon, telling The Politicker in a phone interview that he indicated to the Queens County Democratic Party “I am looking very strongly at it.”
“Being in Congress is a very important responsibility,” Mr. Weprin, a first term City Councilmember, added. “It is something I have often thought about it. It’s an opportunity that is never going to come again in my lifetime. I would like to believe that I would make a good representative.”
Mr. Weprin’s potential candidacy comes after a head-spinning couple of hours yesterday when Assembly member Rory Lancman announced that he would not seek a seat in Congress currently held by fellow Democrat Gary Ackerman. Then, a few hours later, Mr. Ackerman announced his retirement. Mr. Lancman has since indicated that he intends to campaign for the seat again.
Assemblywoman Grace Meng and State Senator Tony Avella have also indicated their interest, and undoubtedly other candidates are eyeing the seat as well.
However, Mr. Weprin could come into a contested primary with some distinct advantages, including the possible backing of the county party and its head, Congressman Joe Crowley. Also, he may have Mr. Ackerman’s support. Yesterday Mr. Ackerman made an appearance alongside Mr. Weprin at his Saul Weprin Democratic Club a few hours after announcing that he would retire. Plus, earlier today Mr. Weprin received the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch.
Mr. Koch endorsed Bob Turner the opponent of Mr. Weprin’s brother, David Weprin, in a special election last year. That district however was altered and this one was created in its stead. The district is a much more Democratic district than the one that Mr. Turner won, although the prospect of another Weprin running for Congress would at the very least be unusual.
Mr. Weprin shrugged off the comparison, pointing out that his brother won easily in the election districts in the new congressional district.
“I am not brother’s keeper,” he said.