US midterm elections: How Jewish candidates did in key midterm races

Who are the winners and losers of the US midterm elections? From the Jewish candidates to the Republicans and Democrats backed by AIPAC and J Street.

COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections (photo credit: REUTERS)
COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections
(photo credit: REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – The midterm elections featured several key races that involved Jewish candidates and in some cases, even Jewish candidates who ran against each other, supported by different Jewish organizations. Who are the winners and the losers of Tuesday?

Pennsylvania’s 7th district: Susan Wild vs. Lisa Scheller

In one of the most intriguing races, two Jewish candidates ran against each other in the critical State of Pennsylvania: incumbent Susan Wild, a Democrat, versus Lisa Scheller, a Republican. It was an important race for the Republican Jewish Coalition, because after the State’s map was redrawn, the RJC saw an opportunity to swing the district and elect another Jewish Republican member for the House. The organization spent $750,000 in ads targeting Wild.

After counting 95% of the votes, Susan Wild was declared the winner with a narrow margin of 2% - or some 5,000 votes. “We knew it would be a close race, but it’s disappointing,” said Sam Markstein, RJC national political director.

“We knew it would be a close race, but it’s disappointing.”

Sam Markstein

 NEW YORK Congressman and Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin shakes hands with people during the annual Columbus Day parade in New York City, earlier this month (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON) NEW YORK Congressman and Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin shakes hands with people during the annual Columbus Day parade in New York City, earlier this month (credit: REUTERS/SHANNON STAPLETON)

New York Gubernatorial race - Lee Zeldin Vs. Kathy Hochul

Lee Zeldin, a Republican Congressman from New York, hoped to become the State’s first Jewish Republican governor. In recent weeks, he has narrowed the gap with the Democratic governor to a low-single-digit race. Zeldin campaigned on economy and crime, two issues that resonated with voters. “We have all the momentum, all the energy, and we have the issues on our side,” he told The Jerusalem Post last week. At the end of the day, Zeldin lost by a 5% margin, a much smaller margin than in 2018, when then-governor Andrew Cuomo defeated Republican Mark Molinaro by 23%.

George Santos New York 3rd district

Santos, a Republican, defeated his Democratic rival by 33% and will become the first openly gay Representative for Long Island.

In a recent interview with Jewish Insider, he described himself as a non-observant Jew whose four visits to Israel were “the most exciting experiences” of his life.

Markstein said that Santos ran a competitive race two years ago. “We are thrilled to see him winning and representing one of the largest Jewish communities in the country and we are excited to see him joining the ranks of Jewish Republicans in the 118th congress,” said Markstein.

“We are thrilled to see him winning and representing one of the largest Jewish communities in the country and we are excited to see him joining the ranks of Jewish Republicans in the 118th congress.”

Sam Markstein

Connecticut Senate Race – Senator Richard Blumenthal Vs. Leora Levy

Another race that featured two Jewish candidates was the Senate race in Connecticut. The incumbent Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal, was challenged by Republican candidate Leora Levy in the solid blue state. “I will lead on every policy that promotes a strong security alliance between the United States and Israel,” Levy told the Post in August.

Blumenthal was declared the winner as he led Levy by 15% after 95% of the votes were counted.

Matt Jacobs versus Julia Brownley, California 26

RJC-backed Jacobs is facing Democrat Brownley. As of writing, the race was still too early to call.

Max Miller versus Matthew Diemer, Ohio 7

The Republican Jewish candidate won his House bid in a 10-point margin, beating Democrat Diemer.

“RJC is proud to have endorsed and supported Max Miller,” said Markstein. “Max Miller is talented, dedicated, patriotic, and a proud member of the Jewish community – he will be just the second Jewish Republican Representative from Ohio ever, the first in 30 years.”

JDCA-BACKED CANDIDATES

The Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) supported 74 candidates overall, 23 of whom are Jewish, and 14 candidates won, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Pennsylvania Governor-elect Josh Shapiro, US Senators Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, and House members Brad Schneider, Elissa Slotkin, Kathy Manning, Josh Gottheimer, Dan Goldman, Jerry Nadler and Susan Wild.

The group lost six other key races. Elaine Luria’s race in Virginia’s second Congressional District, and former Congressman Max Rose’s failed bid for New York’s 11 district, and the races of Eric Lynn, Alan Cohn, Annette Taddeo, and Robert Zimmerman.

Three races, of Mike Levin, Adam Frisch and Kim Schrier, remain uncalled.

“Across the country, Democrats far exceeded expectations on Tuesday, winning key races as voters rejected Republican extremism.”

Haile Soifer

“Across the country, Democrats far exceeded expectations on Tuesday, winning key races as voters rejected Republican extremism,” said Halie Soifer, CEO of JDCA. “Among Jewish candidates, this trend was especially clear. Jewish incumbents in highly competitive races, like Rep. Elissa Slotkin in Michigan and Rep. Susan Wild in Pennsylvania, defended their seats and defeated extremist Republicans despite exorbitant GOP spending. In Ohio, Greg Landsman defeated a long-time Republican incumbent and flipped a highly competitive seat from red to blue,” she said.

“JDCA and JDCA PAC did more to get out the Jewish vote in this election than we’ve ever done in our history, and it worked,” Soifer added. “We clearly demonstrated that the Jewish vote matters for Democrats in close states and districts, and that Jewish voters are firmly aligned with the Democratic Party.”

AIPAC-BACKED CANDIDATES

The pro-Israel group supported candidates directly for the first time in this election cycle. Overall, AIPAC PAC backed 26 Jewish candidates – from both Parties.

From the Republican Party, AIPAC backed Max Miller and David Kustoff – both won.

Democratic-backed candidates included Debbie Wasserman Schulz, Brad Sherman, Brad Schneider, Jerry Nadler, Lois Frenkel, and others. Three candidates, Steve Irwin, Elaine Luria and Steve Wells have lost, while two races are yet to be called.

JSTREET-BACKED CANDIDATES:

The progressive group supported 15 Jewish Democratic candidates in the midterm elections, 13 incumbents, and two new candidates (Becca Balint in Vermont and Seth Magaziner in Rhode Island), all of whom won their races. Among the incumbents, J Street supported Michael Bennet (CO-Senate) Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) David Cicilline (RI-1) Steve Cohen (TN-9) Sara Jacobs (CA-51) Mike Levin (CA-49) Jerry Nadler (NY-12) Jamie Raskin (MD-8) Jan Schakowsky (IL-9) Brian Schatz (HI-Senate) Adam Schiff (CA-30) Kim Schrier (WA-8) and Elissa Slotkin (MI-7).