Mitz-Vote

MitzVote: A Post-Primary Users' Guide

By Joy Resmovits

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Want some politics with your bagel and shmear?

Now that the last big primary night is over and election season is in full swing, we at the Forward bring you Mitz-Vote, a blog that covers all things Jewish and political. Forward Washington correspondent Nathan Guttman identified several key races that include Jewish candidates or where Jewish voters or issues are playing a major role.

Here’s an overview to the races you can read about in more depth along the right side of the MitzVote page:

-Golden State Gals: In California, Barbara Boxer, a Democratic U.S. senator, is trying to fend off her challenger: Republican Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who has been gaining ground in the polls as of late. Their campaigns have largely focused on domestic issues, but Fiorina’s recent trip to Israel was understood as an attempt to sharpen her foreign policy chops and make an impression on Jewish voters. Read about the California race, the candidates, and the issues here.

-Federal v. state experience in Ohio: Rob Portman, a former Bush official and U.S. Representative, is vying with Lee Fisher, the state’s Jewish lieutenant governor, for the seat of retiring Republican Senator George Voinovich. Portman now leads the polls. Read about the race here.

-Obama’s Senate Seat: In Illinois, Republican Mark Kirk, a fifth-term congressman and former naval officer, is ahead of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, the Obama-endorsed state treasurer. They’re fighting to replace Democrat Roland Burris — whom Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat Barack Obama left when he headed to the White House. Read about it here.

-Florida’s Three-Way Senate Fight: It’s Republican Marco Rubio, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and self-described Tea Partier vs. Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek vs. Florida governor Charlie Crist, a Republican who broke with his party to run as an Indpendent. The polls put him between Rubio and Meek. Crist brought his fight for the Jewish vote into senior homes after a group of Jews formed against him. Read about it here.

-Post-Specter Smackdown: In the race for Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter’s seat, Republican Pat Toomey, a former U.S. Representative, is ahead of Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, though the gap has narrowed since August. The race has been a lightening rod for pro-Israel groups as J Street and the newly-formed Emergency Committee for Israel faced off over the strength of Sestak’s pro-Israel views. Read more here.

-Wisconsin in the Senate: Fighting for Wisconsin’s senate seat: Republican political newbie Ron Johnson and Democratic Jewish incumbent Russ Feingold are neck-and-neck. Check it out here.

-Windy City in the House: In Chicago, Ill., Democrat Dan Seals, a business consultant and two-time losing candidate, fights Republican Robert Dold, a George H.W. Bush official and Dan Quayle aide, to fill Mark Kirk’s seat in the House. Read more here.

-Boca’s House Race: For the House seat representing Florida’s District 22, an area that encompasses retirement mecca Boca Raton, Jewish incumbent Democratic Rep. Ron Klein has been challenged by Republican Allen West, a right-wing retired lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq and lost to Klein by 10 points last election cycle. West told the JTA that Klein’s videographer followed him, likening the cameraman to the “Gestapo” — and didn’t apologize. Read about the race here.

-“Jewish Money” in New York: After Michael Allegretti’s concession in the Republican primary Sept. 14, Democratic incumbent Michael McMahon will defend his seat representing New York’s district 13 — which includes Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn — against Republican Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent and Gulf War veteran. McMahon came under fire when his campaign released a document named “Grimm Jewish Money Q2,” and his staffer was fired for saying Grimm’s money came from Jewish retirees. Read about it here.

That’s the breakdown for now. Stay tuned for more Jewish political news as the election season rolls onward. And don’t forget to send us your feedback: mitzvote@forward.com. We’ll count it as a mitzvah.


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