Jews Loom Large in US Midterm Elections

Published: November 1st 2010
in News » World

California Senator Barbara Boxer
Pic: wikimedia commons

There are over 20 Jews running in tomorrow's American midterm elections.


Some of them are well known names such as long serving Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Chuck Schumer of New York.


Boxer is fighting one of the toughest Senate election battles in the US against challenger Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.


Boxer has said that Fiorina is not in touch with the average California voter. “She walks in that far right lane. And that is not where the majority of Californians walk,” Boxer said recently.


There is also Democrat Barney Frank, who has served in the House of Representatives for Massachusetts’s 4th district since 1981 but is facing a tough challenger in Republican Sean Bielat who is polling within 10 points of the incumbent.


Illinois’s 9th district is an interesting race to watch with two Jews contesting against each other. Jan Schakowsky, the Democratic incumbent, has been serving for over a decade. Her challenger, Republican Joel Pollak, is a 33-year old South African-born lawyer, former research assistant to Alan Dershowitz, and current research fellow at the Hudson Institute where he works with human rights activist and former director of York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies, Anne Bayefsky .


In New York, Democratic Representative Steve Israel (Long Island) is up for reelection. Israel is expected to win easily.


A more interesting NY race is the west side of Manhattan’s eight district between Jewish Democrat Jerry Nadler and Jewish Republican challenger Susan Kone, who is going after Nadler’s record on Israel. Under the headline “If You Think Jerrold Nadler Is Pro Israel – Think Again,” Kone alleged on her website that "while many in the Jewish community including myself spoke up against the insensitive treatment of Israel, Mr. Nadler - who has a proclivity to pontificate - remained deafeningly silent.”


Think you’ll never see a Jewish governor of Alaska? Well, think again, my friend. Meet Ethan A. Berkowitz. Berkowitz, 48, born in San Francisco, was Alaska State Representative from 1997 to 2006.


Berkowitz is the Democratic nominee for the Alaskan governorship and is facing former governor Sarah Palin’s replacement, Governor Sean Parnell, in tomorrow’s election.


Other races to watch:


Main: Eliot Cutler, independent, gubernatorial candidate. If elected, he would be Main’s third independent governor.


Colorado: Democratic incumbent Senator Michael Bennet (Jewish mother) who fought a hard primary battle against another Jew, Andrew Romanoff, former speaker of the Colorado house of representatives.


Connecticut: Democrat Richard Blumenthal is running for retiring Democrat Chris Dodd’s seat. Earlier in the race, Blumenthal sparked controversy for implying that he had served in the Vietnam War when in fact he had served domestically in the Marine Corps Reserve instead.


New Hampshire: Democratic Representative Paul Hodes is up for reelection. Hodes is also a musician who performs with his wife as the award winning children’s duo, Paul & Peggo. They played the White House in 1996.   


Arizona: Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords is up for reelection against one of the most conservative Tea Party candidates, Jesse Kelly, who has attacked Sarah Palin for endorsing candidates he views are being too moderate.


Other Jews in the midterms running for House seats include Ron Klein (D-Florida), John Adler (D-NJ), Alan Grayson (D-Florida), Randy Altschuler (Republican nominee – NY), David Cicilline (current Mayor of Providence, RI, Democratic nominee for 1st congressional district).

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