Joe_Lieberman.jpgFROM JTA

* Jews increased their numbers by two in the U.S. Senate and at least four in the U.S. House of Representatives. U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, an Independent who was backed by the Democrats, won Vermont´s Senate seat. U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin, also a Democrat, was projected to win Maryland´s seat. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an Independent in Connecticut who has pledged to vote with the Democratic caucus, also won. Another two Jewish incumbent senators are up for re-election this year and were projected to win: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.); and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) The wins would raise Jewish representation in the Senate to 13, the most Jews that body has had. There were 26 Jews in the House in the last Congress. Six Jewish Democrats — in Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona, Kentucky and New Hampshire — were projected to win freshman bids. That means at least 30 Jews will serve in the House in the next Congress, with Cardin and Sanders ascending to the Senate.

* U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman defeated Ned Lamont, the cable TV magnate who used anti-Iraq war sentiment to best Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Lieberman, who backed the Iraq war, ran as an independent but pledged to vote with the Democratic caucus. Exit polls suggested Lieberman, the first Jew to feature on a viable presidential ticket in 2000, garnered 60 percent of the Jewish vote and Lamont garnered 40 percent. Lieberman had drawn significant pro-Israel funds and Jews from around the region went to Connecticut to help get out the vote.

* Jews voted for Democrats in their highest numbers in 14 years, an exit poll showed. Democrats garnered 87 percent of Jewish votes, the CNN exit poll said, and Republicans earned 10 percent. That was opposed to 55 percent of all respondents who voted Democrat and 44 who voted Republican. About 200 of the 10,207 respondents were Jewish. Jews also led all other religions in voting for Democrats.

* Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is close to national Jewish leaders, is set to become speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats were projected to win the House in Tuesday’s midterm congressional elections, which would make House party leader Pelosi the first woman to assume the speaker’s mantle, second in line to the presidency. Pelosi has strong ties to a number of Jewish groups, including the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; she is a close friend of Amy Friedkin, a past AIPAC president and like Pelosi, a resident of the Bay area in northern California.

* U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who had strong backing among some pro-Israel activists, lost most of the Jewish vote in Pennsylvania, according to exit polls. Santorum conceded his seat to Bob Casey, who challenged Santorum´s support for the Iraq war and his conservative social policies. Santorum was one of the biggest beneficiaries of pro-Israel money, getting $2 million in support, more than any other candidate except for U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) However, Casey drew even greater Jewish backing, and one exit poll suggested he garnered more than 80 percent of the Jewish vote.

* U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.), who drew strong pro-Israel opposition, was projected to lose his bid for re-election to Sheldon Whitehouse. Whitehouse drew funding from the pro-Israel community. Chafee, the chairman of the Senate´s Middle East subcommittee, was strongly critical of Israel´s settlement policy and recently blocked the nomination of John Bolton as U.N. ambassador to protest a planned settlement expansion. Chafee was considered a casualty of profound opposition in Rhode Island to the Iraq war. The senator was not a backer of the war, but voters sought to punish President Bush by targeting the Republican Party.

* For the first time, a Muslim is set to become a U.S. congressman. Keith Ellison, a Democrat, easily defeated Alan Fine, a Jewish Republican, in a Minneapolis area district in Tuesday’s 2006 midterm elections. Ellison earned endorsements from leading Jews in the district and expressed regrets about his ties in the mid-1990s with the Nation of Islam, an anti-Semitic offshoot of Islam. He is due to visit Israel for the first time in the coming weeks as a guest of the Minnesota Jewish community.

About the author

Rabbi Yonah

8 Comments

  • “regrets about his ties in the mid-1990s with the Nation of Islam, an anti-Semitic offshoot of Islam. ”

    ???

    an “Antisemitic offshoot”?

    Aren’t all offshoots of Islam by necessity antisemitic?

  • A little background on the Ellison election: The district is overwhelmingly Dem. Absurdly so. The district traditionally also had a disproportionate amount of the region’s Jewish population, althought that’s waned in recent years. Whoever wins the Dem primary wins the election. Unless you were once a member of the Nation of Islam. When Ellison served in the State house his affiliation with Nation of Islam was never publicized. It was during the primaries, which he won while simultaneously admitting membership in NOI and denouncing Farakhan. He also had a few other issues to deal with, mainly a problem with unpaid parking tickets and taxes.

    Fine (who lives in the most heavily Jewish and Orthodox Jewish suburb of Minneapolis) tried to make Ellison’s NOI connection the main issue, banking on scaring the liberal Jewish community, a desperate move in this district, to hope Jews and Israel supporters would vote single-issue. Ellison nipped that in the bud by turning the NOI issue to his advantage – he spent a great deal of coalition-building on the Jewish community. A lot of time in dialogue with synagogues and Jewish leaders (whose support of Israel varies from moderate to hawkish but are generally domestically liberal). In his face time with Jewish leaders he didn’t just explain his NOI connection or apologize; he really (appeared to) ATONE (which might strike a chord in us during the High Holidays). So much so you’d think he’ll be the best friend Jews and Israel ever will have in Congress. Really, in this district a series of apologies would’ve sufficed and he would’ve cruised. We’re hoping it’s turning out to be a good thing. Wait and see.

    Also, Tammy Lee, the Independent who refused to play the NOI card, had a surprisingly strong showing, matching Fine’s.

  • Thanks Rabbi Yonah, I’ve been looking for those stats! And it was a fair & balanced presentation too! Thanks again, ‘VJ’

  • Separation of powers, 21st-century style: liberal Jews control Congress, conservative Catholics the Supreme Court.

  • How are you counting defeated Virginia Sen. George Allen in this tabulation — as Jewish loss in the Senate? Why not? Halachically, anyway, he is. Him and Elvis.

  • Tom, very funny remark and right on the button in the sense that these views if not religions will now dominate these two branches. I guess it goes to show that the Presidency, since it appoints the judges, is usually more conservative than the Houses.

  • And together, Jewish conservatives and Evangelicals control the executive branch. For a couple years anyways. Everyone gets a say in America! What a country.

  • Delusional left wing Jews would rather sit in bomb shelters and hide from Islamic attacks than to vote against Obama or Ellison. Pathetic.

    Israel is a preview of how low left wing Jews are willing to go to keep voting left wing. They would vote left wing even from bomb shelters into which they are forced hide by following left wing policies.

    Assimilation is the greatest threat to US Jews. Assimilation = result of left wing policies. The more left wing the more assimilation there is.

    Republican voting Orthodox = no assimilation.
    Middle of the road conservative Jews = some.
    Left wing reform = a lot of assimilation.

    And of course there are the Jewish whores whose votes are up for sale. Note the buying of Hassidic votes by Clintons. Note the easily bribed Shas. Shas will sign up for any destructive left wing policy as long as there are a few shekels for their yeshivas or socialist programs.

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