Jewish candidates abound in US midterm elections

Northern Exposure: Dozens of Jewish politicians running for Senate, House and state governorships, some in most unexpected of places.

By RONEN SHNIDMAN
November 1, 2010 20:20
3 minute read.
Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor. (photo credit: Courtesy: United States Congress)

Tuesday's US midterm elections propose to present a disproportionately large number of Jewish candidates for high office, some of them in quite unexpected places.

Several already well-known political names in important races are California Senator Barbara Boxer (D), running for re-election in a close race with former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina, and  former Connecticut state attorney-general Richard Blumenthal who has maintained a slight lead against Linda McMahon of WWE wrestling fame for the state's open Senate seat. Blumenthal has managed to maintain a single-digit lead, despite a minor scandal over exaggerated claims of Vietnam War service, in no small part due to Connecticut women's discomfort with McMahon's close ties with a sport known for violence and a significant element of misogyny

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During a year in which many Americans have expressed outrage with both parties in Washington and political insiders, Maine's Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler is currently second in statewide polls, behind Republican candidate Paul LaPage but ahead of the Democratic candidate with 26.5 percent of expected votes according to an average of several recent polls calculated by realclearpolitics.com. Cutler seeks to emulate the success of another senior Jewish New England politician independent democratic socialist Vermont senator Bernie Sanders (not running in the 2010 election). The Maine politician's campaign has highlighted Cutler's story of his maternal grandfather who came to Maine as an itinerant peddler who barely spoke any English.

Maine's gubernatorial race took an interesting turn when, according to The Portland Press Herald, LaPage criticized Cutler's proposal for the creation of a state office to monitor state agencies' regulatory work as similar to the "Gestapo."

All told, by The Jerusalem Post's count, at least eight Jews are running for seats in the US Senate, 23 for the House and two for state governorships.

Whatever the elections outcome, Capitol Hill Hannuka parties next year are sure to see some new and old faces in the crowd.


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