Jewish Journal


June 1, 2012

House Jewish Projection: Candidate Elimination Week



(Photo: Reuters)

Our J-Meter House Jewish Projection – in which we track races of ‎Jewish candidates for the House of Representatives, and give you an ‎up-to-date assessment of the general picture of Jewish presence in the ‎House and the Senate – will be updated again next week. That is ‎because the outcome of primary votes might have impact on the ‎numbers, and might reduce even more the number of projected Jewish ‎Representatives following the 2012 November election.‎

Steve Rothman of New Jersey’s 9th district seems to be in a tough situation. Polls show ‎that the Democratic race – to be decided June 6 – is tight.  “A new poll ‎commissioned by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell shows the 9th Congressional ‎District primary a virtual dead heat. An outline of the poll, obtained ‎by PolitickerNJ, gives U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman 43.8 percent of the vote ‎to Pascrell’s 43.3 percent.  An additional 12.9 percent of those polled ‎are undecided.” Rothman’s rival, Bill Pascrell, was endorsed by former ‎President Clinton (Pascrell was a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, ‎Rothman was an Obama supporter). ‎Obama stepped in on Friday to support - but not endorse - Rothman with an invitation to the White House.

If Rothman loses, the district might still have a Jewish Congressman, if ‎Republican Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wins in November. Boteach has a ‎long way to go, but is gaining attention and seems like a viable ‎contender. ‎

Franke Wilmer will also face the voters next week (June 5). In a seven-‎candidate field she’s one of the two leaders in fund raising. It should be ‎noted, though, that even if Wilmer clinches the nomination, polls give ‎the Republican nominee in Montana the ultimate advantage.  ‎

There are also a lot of Jewish contenders in California districts slated for primary vote ‎next week. Berman vs. Sherman is naturally the ‎notable battle, but that’s one of the races in which - no matter who wins - a ‎Jewish candidate will emerge from the race. That is not the case in California’s ‎‎47th district, where Alan Lowenthal is trying to win the nomination, or in the state’s 28th district, ‎where Rep. Adam Schiff is vying to keep a seat in the House post-‎redistricting. ‎

In Illinois’ 10th district, there are signs that the chances of the Jewish contender challenging Rep. Bob Dold are pretty good. Brad Schneider is running ‎neck to neck with Dold in the polls, and the district is listed almost ‎everywhere as one of the districts likely to switch parties. ‎

Our hesitation and then ultimate decision to include Randy Altschuler (NY-01) ‎in our table of House contenders, even though he is not yet on the radar ‎of political experts, hasn’t yet paid off. But it is starting to show some ‎promising signs: Altschuler is now officially the Republican candidate, ‎as his primary rival withdrew from the race. But more importantly, ‎observers of this race believe it will be a very tight one:‎

Most important could be that Altschuler pulled off the ‎endorsement of the Independence Party, a ballot line that Bishop ‎had in 2010. Bishop received 7,370 votes on that line—way more ‎than he won by. This alone could make Altschuler the favorite this ‎year. But it isn’t the only factor that will affect the outcome. Two ‎years ago, the winner was in doubt until the official recount was ‎over and all the absentee ballots were counted. Surprising to ‎many veteran campaign observers, Bishop actually picked up ‎votes among the absentees. With a large number of wealthy ‎travelers, second-home owners and military ballots, a Republican ‎should always win the absentee voters in this area. Without being ‎privy to either campaign’s playbook, I think the best explanation ‎is that Bishop’s campaign had one bang-up absentee ballot ‎program, or at least a far better one than Altschuler’s campaign. ‎That oversight is not likely to be repeated this year.‎

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