Photo: Associated Press
A man votes in the US Midterm Elections on Tuesday.
Photo: Associated Press

GOP's big win sees Jewish Republican back in House; Franken and Schatz hold on in Senate

Lee Zeldin's NY victory makes him sole Jewish Republican in House; Democrats Schneider and Romanoff lose in House votes in Illinois and Colorado.

It was an election of change for US Jewish lawmakers in Tuesday's midterm with some incumbents losing their seats while the Republicans once again saw a Jewish congressman take his seat in the House.  



In the Senate, Jewish Democratic incumbents Al Franken and Brian Schatz held on to their seats in Minnesota and Hawaii respectively.


Lee Zeldin replaced Eric Cantor as the only Jewish GOP member of the House of Representatives, ousting Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop in New York's 1st District. Cantor lost his seat in an internal party primary in August to Tea Party candidate Dave Brat in a shock result. Brat won the race for Virginia’s 7th District on Tuesday.


Lee Zeldin will be the only Jewish Republican representative (Photo: Office of Lee Zeldin) (Photo: Office of Lee Zeldin)
Lee Zeldin will be the only Jewish Republican representative (Photo: Office of Lee Zeldin)


On the other side of the aisle, two liberal Jewish candidates - incumbent Brad Schneider and hopeful Andrew Romanoff - lost the race for House seats in Illinois' 10th District and Colorado's 6th District respectively.



Illinois: Schneider loses to Dold 


Social moderate Republican Robert Dold reclaimed his seat in the House of Representatives from Brad Schneider, who narrowly defeated Dold in the previous 2012 elections.


The 10th District of Illinois consists of the northern suburbs of Chicago, which has a strong pro-Israel Jewish community.


Switchabout: Brad Schneider lost his seat to Dold, whom he defeated in 2012 (Photo: Courtesy of US Congress)  (Photo: Courtesy of US Congress)
Switchabout: Brad Schneider lost his seat to Dold, whom he defeated in 2012 (Photo: Courtesy of US Congress)


Mark Kirk, the previous Republican congressman for the district and now serving in the Senate, had supported Dold in the race. Both men share a pro-Israel stance and central-leaning conservative approach.


Dold's defeat could possibly be a result of an election in a non-presidential year, when Democratic voters tend to drop off.

While Schneider's campaign had the help of big-name Democrats, Dold touted support of local officials and Kirk.


California: Carr can't beat Lieu 


In an open race after Jewish Democratic incumbent Henry Waxman announced his retirement, Ted Lieu defeated Republican Jewish hopeful Elan Carr to represent one of the wealthiest districts in California -the 33rd District, which includes Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu.




Carr's mother emigrated from Iraq to Israel before finally settling in the United States. Carr spoke Hebrew and Arabic growing up and was part of a Jewish fraternity commonly known as AEPI (Alpha Epsilon Pi) during his college. He is currently a criminal prosecutor with Los Angeles County district attorney's office.  


Furthermore, both candidates served in the US military, Lieu as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and Carr in the Central Command. The latter was deployed to Iraq in 2003, receiving international media attention for leading Hanukkah and other Jewish services in the former presidential palace of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.


Both candidates pitched a pro-Israel, moderate stance, but Lieu had the support of the incumbent Waxman in a state that has more registered Democratic voters.


New York: Zeldin ousts Bishop


Republican Jewish candidate Lee Zeldin beat Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop, who has been representing the 1st District of New York since 2002, and takes over in the district that includes the wealthy Hamptons region.


Zeldin's win makes him the only Republican Jew in Congress, after the departure of Cantor, who had pushed bills such as ending US aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stopped unauthorized excavations on the Temple Mount.


Bishop also has a pro-Israel stance, telling JTA before the elections, “My understanding is now that Eric Cantor has left the Congress, he is telling others (Zeldin) will fill that void,” Bishop said in an interview. “This is not a race about electing someone Jewish.”


“One thing we are almost unanimous on is the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship and that our posture towards Israel will be protective,” Bishop said to JTA.


However, on other issues, Zeldin and Bishop promoted opposing viewpoints, especially on immigration and healthcare.


Zeldin is against a path for citizenship for undocumented workers and wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), while Bishop supports citizenship for undocumented workers and Obamacare with a few changes.


Colorado: Romanoff loses to Coffman 


In the battle for the 6th District of Colorado, which covers an area of central Colorado, Republican Mike Coffman kept his seat and defeated defeated liberal Jewish hopeful Andrew Romanoff.


Romanoff grew up in a Jewish home, which he says had an indelible influence on his life.


"I think (my Jewish upbringing) shaped who I am in almost every way," he told JTA in October. "I take seriously the obligation we call tikkun olam."




The two candidates focused on domestic issues, with the economy taking center stage. Romanoff emphasized his refusal to take money from political action committees, promoting his freedom from special interests.


However, this move did not prevent Romanoff from receiving big contributions, with both candidates raising over $3 million.


In the end, Coffman's attempt to paint Romanoff as a privileged outsider, Romanoff attended a private prep-school along with Harvard and Yale, may have given him the edge that he needed to defeat his opponent.


פרסום ראשון: 11.05.14, 13:40
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