Beame Elected Democratic Candidate May Be City’s First Jewish Mayor
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Beame Elected Democratic Candidate May Be City’s First Jewish Mayor

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New York, the city with the largest Jewish population in the world, appeared likely today to get the first Jewish mayor in its history next Nov.

That was the concensus of political experts in the aftermath of Comptroller Abraham D. Beame’s stunning run-off victory against Rep. Herman Badillo for the Democratic Mayoral nomination.

Beame, 67, who is Jewish, won four of the five boroughs including Badillo’s home-borough of The Bronx, in yesterday’s balloting which brought out a record 900,000 voters, nearly 38 percent of the city’s 2.4 million registered Democrats. With all but a few of the city’s 4569 election districts reporting this morning, Beame had 549,189 votes to 354,563 for his Puerto Rican-born rival–a victory margin of 3-2.

Beame’s margin yesterday was considerably larger than in the June 4 primaries when he polled 34 percent of the vote to Badillo’s 29 percent, mandating the city’s first run-off contest.

According to political experts, Beame is the odds-on favorite to win the mayoralty race in Nov. unless there are sizeable defections among Democratic voters. Registered Democrats have always outnumbered Republicans in this city.


In the fall contest, Beame will face State Sen. John Marchi, the Republican nominee and the two Democrats he bested in the June 4 primaries–Rep. Mario Biaggi who is running on the Conservative Party ticket and State Assemblyman Albert H. Blumenthal candidate of the Liberal Party.

Beame’s run-off victory was attributed to the unexpectedly large voter turn-out which exceeded by some 125,000 the number that voted in the primaries. The heavy turnout was credited in part to the Democratic Party machine which supported Beame. Also evident, however, was a powerful white middle class coalition that literally swamped the Black-Puerto Rican coalition behind Rep. Badillo.

The returns indicated that Beame captured a substantial portion of the Jewish liberal vote that went to Blumenthal June 4 plus a large percentage of the Irish, Italian and other white ethnic voters who favored Biaggi in the primaries. Significantly, Blumenthal, who is Jewish, endorsed Badillo in the run-off while Biaggi told his followers that he was voting for Beame.


The Jewish vote was a powerful factor in Beame’s victory. Seven predominantly Jewish districts in Brooklyn gave Beame some 118,000 votes to 23,000 for Biaggi.

A similar situation prevailed in Queens where the vote in five heavily Jewish districts was 45,400 for Beame to 15,900 for Badillo. The Bronx, which is heavily Black and Puerto Rican, but has a substantial Jewish population in its northern and western areas, went for Beame by a vote of 96,900-86,306 Staten Island, largely white, but with the smallest Jewish population, voted for Beame by 17,838-4709.

Badillo won Manhattan by a fairly large margin–112,786-79,027–a showing attributable to that borough’s large Black and Hispanic population and the fact that it is a stronghold of liberal voters–Jewish and others.

Among the imponderables in next November’s election is whether any substantial portion of the non-Jewish white Democrats will switch party lines and vote for-either Sen. Marchi or Rep. Biaggi. Should such defections occur, they could be attributable to a reluctance to have a Jew in City Hall.

Beame is not the first Jew to run for Mayor–and lose–in this heavily Jewish city. He was defeated in 1965 when he ran against then Republican John V. Lindsay and Conservative William F. Buckley.

Jewish candidates for Mayor suffered the same fate in earlier elections. State Attorney General Louis J. Lefkowitz lost to Robert F. Wagner in 1961; Harold Riegelman, a Republican, was defeated by Wagner in 1953 and Jonah J. Goldstein lost to William O’Dwyer in 1945.

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