Background Report Jewish Candidates for Congress
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Background Report Jewish Candidates for Congress

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Among the candidates in the national elections Nov. 4 running for 34 U.S. Senate seats and all 435 House of Representative seats, there are five Jewish candidates in the Senate races and 48 in the House contests in 26 states.

In addition, in Vermont, State Attorney General M. Jerome Diamond, a Democrat who is Jewish, is seeking to replace Governor Richard Snelling, a Republican seeking reelection as the state’s chief executive.

These election facts resulted from canvasses by David Brody, Washington representative of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and the Washington bureau of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Besides Jacob Javits running on the Liberal Party ticket in New York to keep the Senate seat he has held as Republican for 24 years and Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, the Democrat nominee for Senator in New York, the Senatorial nominees who are Jewish are Republican Arlen Spector, former Philadelphia District Attorney who is seeking to defeat Democrat Peter Flaherty to represent Pennsylvania; Democrat Daniel Berman, a Salt Lake City lawyer trying to unseat Republican Jake Garn in Utah; and Republican Warren Rudman, a former State Attorney General, who is running in New Hampshire against incumbent Democrat John Durkin.


The present Senate has seven Jewish members — a record number. They are Abraham Ribicoff (D.Conn.), who is not seeking reelection and Richard Stone (D.Fla.), who was defeated in his state’s primary runoff. Javits lost in New York’s Republican primary. The four incumbents whose six-year terms are continuing are Rudy Boschwitz (R.Minn.), Edward Zorinsky (D.Neb.), Howard Metzenbaum (D.Ohio), and Carl Levin (D.Mich.).

Of the 23 Jewish candidates elected in 1978 to the House, also a record number, 21 are seeking reelection. Holtzman gave up her place to run for the Senate, and Abner Mikva, called “the quintessence of liberalism, vacated his seat for Illinois upon being appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Jewish candidates are competing in three Congressional contests. In New York, incumbent Republican Bill Green is opposed by Democrat Mark Green while for Holtzman’s place the contest is between Democrat Charles Schumer and Republican Theodore Silverman. Incumbent Democrat William Lehman is opposed in Florida by Republican Alvin Entin.

Other Jewish Congressional incumbents are: Benjamin Rosenthal, Richard Ottinger, Frederick Richmond, James Scheuer, Stephen Solarz, Theodore Weiss, Lester Wolff, all New York Democrats; Benjamin Gilman (R.NY), Willie Grodison (R.Ohio), Marc Marks (R.Pa.), Anthony Beilenson and Henry Waxman, both California Democrats; Gladys Spellman (D.Md.), Sidney Yates (D.III.), Daniel Glickman (D. Kans.), Martin Frost (D.Texas), Ken Kramer (R.Colo.) and Elliott Levitas (D.Go.).


Holtzman is one of five women — two Democrats and three Republicans — running for the Senate; among the 51 women seeking House seats, two Jewish women are among 25 Republicans and four among 26 Democrats.

Holtzman and Spellman are the only Jewish women elected two years ago. Nominees in the Nov. 4 election for House seats, besides Spellman, are Republicans Bobbi Fiedler in California and Sheila Seuss in Indiana; and Democrats Lynn Cutler in Iowa, Karen Burstein in New York and Jeanette Reibman in Pennsylvania.

Other Jewish candidates seeking election to Congress are Democrat Les Miller, Arizona; Democrats Tom Lantos and Matt Miller and Republican John Adler, California; Democrats Sam Gejdenson and Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut; Democrat Alan Becker, Florida; Democrats Robert Weinberger and David Robinson, Illinois; Democrat Howard Silverman, Maine; Democrat Barney Frank, Massachusetts; Democrat Joel Saliterman, Minnesota; Democrat Richard Fellman, Nebraska; Democrat Lewis Weinstein, New Jersey; Republican Neil Wallace, New York; Democrat Bob Shamansky, Ohio; Democrat Ron Wyden, Oregon; and Republican Steven Snyder, Pennsylvania.

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