Jewish Candidates Won at Least 21 Seats in the House
Menu JTA Search

Jewish Candidates Won at Least 21 Seats in the House

Download PDF for this date

Jewish candidates won at least 21 seats in the new House of Representatives yesterday–equal to the record number held by Jews in the last Congress. They may pick up another seat in Illinois where incumbent Democrat Abner Mikva is in a tight race that is headed for a recount. The only Jewish incumbent to lose a re-election bid is Iowa Democrat Edward Mezvinsky who was seeking a third term.

Two other Representatives in the 94th Congress–Belia Abzug (D.NY) and Sam Steiger (R. Ariz.)–retired from the House to run for the Senate and both lost in their bids.

Seventeen incumbents were re-elected along with four newcomers to the 95th Congress. They are Marc Marks, a Republican lawyer of Sharon, Pa.; Democrat Anthony Beilenson, a California State Senator, and lawyer of Beverly Hills; Democrat Theodore Weiss, who replaces Mrs. Abzug in New York City, and Dan Glickman, the Democratic president of the school board in Wichita, Kansas.

Rep. Sidney Yates (D.III.) won reelection easily yesterday, gaining his 14th term in his Chicago district to continue as dean of the Jewish delegation in the House.

In one of the most startling upsets of the Congressional races, Glickman defeated Republican Garner Shriver who has served 32 years in the House and was seeking his 17th term. Glickman was reported as having received 51 percent of the vote to Shriver’s 48 percent. Republican Willis Gradison, former Mayor of Cincinnati, gained his second term easily, gathering 61 percent of the vote.


Incumbents who won included Joshua Eilberg (D.Pa.) who gained his sixth term by defeating his Republican opponent in a Philadelphia district by better than two to one. The vote for Eilberg was 142,307 to 67,109 for James Mumford. Also winning was William Lehman (D.Fla.), who defeated Republican businessman Arnold Spiegel-man, also Jewish, by a 3-1 margin in the Miami area to gain a third term. Lehman, a former businessman and college literature professor, went to Congress after being chairman of the Dade County school board.

In Atlanta, Georgia, lawyer Elliot Levitas, a Democrat, won a second House term by getting 68 percent of the vote, defeating Republican George Warren. In Maryland, Democratic Congresswoman Gladys Spellman won a second term but lawyer Lanny Davis, also a Democrat seeking a first term, lost in suburban Montgomery County which has a large Jewish population. Both Spellman and Davis campaigned in districts adjoining Washington.

Mezvinsky, an Iowa City lawyer seeking his second term, lost to Republican James Leach, a millionaire businessman of Davenport, Iowa. A recount was indicated on the vote in the Illinois district outside Chicago where Mikva was reported both ahead by 200 votes and behind by 100 in his rematch with Republican Sam Young, Mikva defeated Young two years ago by 2000 votes. In California, John Krebs, a lawyer from Fresno in the agricultural San Joaquin Valley, won a second term. Henry Waxman was also reelected. Both are Democrats.


Among Jewish candidates who lost were Don Friedman, a Republican in Denver, Colorado, who was defeated by Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, a Democrat, and in Massachusetts, Boston lawyer Arthur Mason, a Republican, was beaten by Rep. Robert Drinan, a Democrat who gathered 53 percent of the vote to win his fourth term in the district embracing Boston suburbs.

Other Jewish candidates meeting defeat were Democrat Dorothy Becket who bowed to Republican incumbent William Broomfield, and James Burdick, a Republican, who lost to incumbent Democrat William Brodhead in their House races in Michigan. In Florida, Charles Friedman, a Hollywood dentist, lost to incumbent Rep. J. Herbert Burke, a Republican. Other Jewish candidates who failed to win Congressional bids were Allard Lowenstein in New York, and Arthur Goodman Jr. of Charlotte, N.C.

All the Jewish incumbents in New York State were re-elected except Mrs. Abzug. They are Democrats Elizabeth Holtzman, Edward I. Koch, Richard Ottinger, Frederick Richmond, Benjamin Rosenthal, Stephen Solarz, James Scheuer, and Lester Wolf and Republican Benjamin Gilman.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund