WASHINGTON – Jewish politicians in New Jersey are hoping for a strong showing in
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, famous for penning books
including Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy and once serving as an
adviser to Michael Jackson, is making a serious bid for a Republican
congressional nomination, albeit in a district that favors
Still, Boteach, who is also a Jerusalem Post columnist, has
the help of some powerful backers. In the last donation cycle, casino mogul
Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, maxed out their personal contribution
limit to his campaign at $10,000, according to federal election
The self-described “Jewish values” candidate has also benefitted
from $5,000 from US House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a fellow Jewish
Republican from Virginia.
Boteach, if he prevails, could face a Jewish
competitor in November – incumbent Congressman Steve Rothman.
however, has to fend off another incumbent representative, Bill Pascrell, to
make it to the general election after redistricting forced Rothman into a
Rothman, who serves on both the House foreign
operations appropriations subcommittee and the defense appropriations
subcommittee, has been a leading force behind increased aid to Israel’s missile
defense programs in recent years.
Rothman has raised more money than
Pascrell but polls have shown them neck-and-neck. Pascrell received a
high-profile endorsement from former president Bill Clinton last week, widely
understood to be connected to the candidate’s decision to back Hillary Clinton
for president in 2008.
But Rothman, who supported Barack Obama in that
campaign, received a boost from the president on the same day. Hours before the
Clinton event, Obama hosted Rothman in the White House, a visit that attracted
press attention back in the congressman’s home state. Rothman had been the only
New Jersey representative to back Obama over Clinton.
Democratic incumbents are also squaring off in California, where redistricting
similarly caused long-time members and allies to compete with one
Rep. Howard Berman, the House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking
member, and Rep. Brad Sherman, the ranking member of the subcommittee on
terrorism, nonproliferation and trade, had a history of working together on
issues including support for Israel and sanctions on Iran before the new
district lines turned them into adversaries.
Polls have shown that the
two men lead the candidate field, and new California voting procedures mean that
should they finish one-two they will face each other on the ballot in November
despite being from the same party.
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