– Could the Jewish vote decide which party controls Congress? (Haaretz, Nov 3, 2014):
The close race taking place in some states makes Jewish voters much more valuable than their relative size in population.
Although Georgia’s 130,000 Jews comprise less than 1.5 percent of the state’s total population, their high voter turnout doubles and even triples their electoral value. In a close race such as the one taking place between Democrat Michelle Nun and Republican David Perdue, which many see as a battle that will determine which party controls the Senate, the Jewish vote is extremely valuable.
In her elections campaign, Nunn had to deal with things that weakened her position among the Jews, including her close association with gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, and Perdue’s false accusation that she was linked to an NGO that donated money to Hamas. These days, Nunn and many of her fellow Democrats are suffering from “Chickenshitgate,” which probably angered Georgia’s relatively conservative Jews. They could vent their anger by voting for Perdue, which theoretically could hand the Senate over to the Republicans — and all because of one small, rude word.
Something similar could also happen in Colorado, where Jews make up 1.8 percent of the population, and in New Hampshire, where they make up 0.8 percent. In both states the race is neck-and-neck, with potential to tip the scales. While most of the Jews do not vote according to the administration’s policy on Israel, at a time when the voters are unhappy with Obama in any case, the recent incident could get quite a few Jewish Democrats to stay home or to vote for the opponent.
As far as Jewish representation in Congress, the number of senators is expected to go down from ten to nine — all of them Democrats — because of the retirement of senior United States Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). Two Jewish senators who are running for their seats this year — Al Franken (D-MN) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) — are expected to keep them. Jewish representation in the House of Representatives is expected to go down from 22 to 20 or 19, the majority of them Democrats. The interesting question is whether a Republican candidate will succeed in replacing Eric Cantor as the “lone Jewish ranger” in the House’s majority faction. The leading candidate for the title is Lee Zeldin, who is running on Long Island and is supported by some of its wealthy residents – a new poll had him pulling ahead of his Democratic rival by 5% on Sunday. Two others worthy of attention are Micah Edmond of Virginia, who is black, Jewish and a Republican, and Elan Carr, whose parents lived in Israel, who is running in Beverly Hills for the seat vacated by Henry Waxman, one of the long-time Jewish members of Congress.
Like many other Republicans, Carr enjoys the generous support of Sheldon Adelson, who according to the American media plans to spend more than 100 million dollars to help candidates who support Israel and hate Obama. That did not help him in 2012: although he invested a similar sum, none of the eight candidates he backed was elected, according to the New York Times.