Mitz-Vote

What's the Matter With Florida?

By Nathan Guttman

  • Print
  • Share Share

It is hard year for all Democrats, nothing new about that.

But if a Jewish incumbent can’t pull it off in South Florida, it could be a sign things are really bad.

Three of four Florida Jewish lawmakers are up for re-election. The fourth, Ted Deutch, who represents the most Jewish county in the U.S., just got elected in a special election and will not be challenged until 2012.

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, an up and coming Democratic star, has it safe in Florida’s 20th district. But the two other Jewish Florida Democrats, Ron Klein and Alan Grayson, are in trouble.

Trailing in the polls is probably the only thing the two Jewish Floridians have in common. Klein is the classic South Florida Democrat – hawkish on Israel, mainstream on most other issues. Grayson, on the other hand, is a staunch liberal, known for his colorful use of language when describing his rivals. Klein is running in Florida’s 22nd district, which includes the costal parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties and is home to some 100,000 Jews, many of whom are retirees. In 2008, Klein beat his Republican rival Alan West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, with a 10% margin. Now, West is back and according to the latest poll, he is taking the lead. Klein has found himself defending his pro-Israel credentials in light of West’s hard line rhetoric on fighting terror. Now Klein’s campaign is trying to portray West as extreme and has been highlighting his alleged financial problems. West has been calling Ron Klein Nancy Pelosi’s “mama’s boy.”

Florida commentators say the race will go down to the wire, with both candidates pouring huge sums into last-minute TV ad buys. Here, West has a significant advantage with the amount of cash he has on hand.

Further north, in Orlando, Alan Grayson is facing a different kind of race. Grayson is not trying to put on any moderate mask as he faces off with conservative Republican Dan Webster. Most recently, Grayson ran ads calling his rival “Taliban Dan,” a move that led Webster to cancel planned debates with Grayson citing what he called “lack of decorum” on behalf of his rival.

Grayson is trailing Webster in the polls, but Democrats believe that the presence of a third candidate representing the Tea Party movement on the ballot could draw voters away from the Republican candidate.

The Klein and the Grayson races are worth watching even for those less invested in the future of Jewish lawmakers. The outcome of these congressional elections could give some clues regarding the way forward for the Democrats. If Grayson pulls it off, it could be a sign that Democrats would be best served by taking their gloves off. A Klein victory would suggest moderation still works with voters. And what if both lose? Well, that would only mean that it’s a real tough year for Democrats.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ron Klein, Allen West, Alan Grayson

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.