Brooklyn’s hassidim give strong support to Lhota, but Jewish vote ultimately evenly split

The new mayor of New York City will be Democrat Bill de Blasio, who swept 73 percent of the popular vote and 51% of the Jewish vote, exit polls show.

November 7, 2013 00:31
2 minute read.
Orthodox man in Brooklyn

Orthodox man in Brooklyn 370. (photo credit: Michael Wilner)


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NEW YORK – The new mayor of New York City will be Democrat Bill de Blasio, who swept 73 percent of the popular vote and 51% of the Jewish vote, exit polls showed.

This represents a big shift away from the traditional pattern of the Jewish bloc overwhelmingly voting for a Republican candidate, as happened during the elections of former mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.

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As of Wednesday not all votes have yet been counted, but according to an election map breakdown provided by local TV outlet NY1, the Jewish vote in particular tells a “tale of two cities,” said David Pollock, director of government relations at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

In Brooklyn, for example, while almost all other neighborhoods came out strongly for de Blasio, the neighborhoods of Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach showed a strong turnout for Republican candidate Joe Lhota. Both of these communities are mostly a mix of Russian-speaking and Orthodox Jews, Pollock said.

Crown Heights, an epicenter for hassidic Jews, was very strong in Lhota voters.

In contrast, Borough Park and South Williamsburg, as well as Rego Park and Forest Hills in Queens, which also have a mix of Russian-speaking an Orthodox Jews, all trended towards de Blasio, but did not strongly support him.

The Reform Jews of the Upper West Side, a traditional Democratic stronghold, voted in a similar manner to their religious counterparts in Brooklyn: trending toward, but not fully supportive of, de Blasio.

The biggest issue for these voters was the continuation of the Bloomberg legacy, for which de Blasio was able to make an “incredible case,” Pollock said.

East Side Jews voted the exact opposite: trending for Lhota. The upper East Side is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in New York and traditionally a Republican stronghold.

“In every mayoral election since 1989, Jews have voted two-to-one or more for a Republican,” Pollock said. “This is quite different from previous years. There’s more of a mixture. What you’re seeing is a return to the Democratic Party, but a bifurcated Jewish community. More than bifurcated: Jews voted in all different directions.”

In other mayoral elections, Democrat Toni Harp, mayoral candidate in New Haven, Connecticut, used the address list and mailing labels of the Greater New Haven Jewish Federation for a mass mailing over the weekend prior to the election, the New Haven Register reported. Sydney Perry, executive director of the New Haven Federation, told the Register that they do not take sides in elections, nor did he have any idea how Harp’s campaign got a hold of their address labels. Harp won her race.

In a similar shenanigan in northern Virginia, interns for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe reportedly accessed the personal contact information of the members of at least two local synagogues and a Jewish day school to send out promotional materials, the Washington Free Beacon reported. McAuliffe also won his race.

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