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Bob Turner, Rush Limbaugh's TV Patron, Challenges Kirsten Gillibrand

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/13/2012 5:14 pm Updated: 03/13/2012 5:30 pm

In the department of not-good timing, the latest candidate hoping to challenge New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has as one of his claims to fame putting Rush Limbaugh on television.

Now serving as a Republican congressman representing New York, former TV executive Bob Turner had been reasonably proud of having put the talk show host on the little screen when he was running to replace Rep. Anthony Weiner last year, and HuffPost's Elise Foley wrote it up at the time:

"When I was president of Multimedia, I brought Rush Limbaugh to television for four years," Turner told Human Events in May 2010. "And, boy, did we get bombed with complaints from [National Organization for Women] and the other Democratic surrogates."

The 30-minute show, generally considered a failure, was pushed to late-night time slots and eventually canceled.

"The Rush Limbaugh show was a great success. It lasted three years and was profitable," William O'Reilly, Turner's campaign spokesman, told HuffPost. "But at the end of the day, Rush decided to switch to radio, which was even more profitable and easier to do. The rest is history."

Limbaugh is not a great selling point in a blue state like New York, but after the furor over Limbaugh's calling Sandra Fluke a "slut," he's likely to be a bigger drag. Turner's dis of NOW in supporting Limbaugh is also likely to haunt him

Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin was happy to note the connection.

“We welcome Congressman Turner to the race," Caplin said in a statement on Tuesday, the day that he announced his candidacy. "We look forward to contrasting Senator Gillibrand’s record of fighting for New York’s middle class with that of Congressman Turner's record as a former Rush Limbaugh producer turned self-proclaimed 'pandering' Republican if he becomes the nominee."

Gillibrand's campaign was also quick to seize on Turner's past to raise money, sending out an email appeal highlighting the Limbaugh connection.

"Maybe he was inspired by her unfaltering defense of women's rights in the Senate or his old pal Rush being back in the news again," the message stated. "Or maybe he just thinks he deserves a promotion and can push Kirsten aside, but we need to show right-wing Congressman Turner and her other extreme opponents that Kirsten is no push over."

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