A longtime supporter of Israel is retiring from the U.S. Senate.
Republican George Voinovich, such a strong backer of Negev development that there’s a business center there named in his honor, won’t be running for re-election in 2010 after serving two terms. (A quick bit of trivia: Voinovich defeated my namesake, former Democratic U.S. Rep. Eric Fingerhut, in his 2004 race.)
Among a group of possible candidates rumored to be interested in running to succeed him on the Democratic side, according to the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, is Jewish Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher. Former U.S. Rep Rob Portman looks to be the favorite on the GOP side of the aisle.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Cillizza handicaps the possible field of Democratic candidates that could face Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, now that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has bowed out of the running. Among those mentioned are Jewish Democrats Allyson Schwartz and Josh Shapiro:
Allyson Y. Schwartz: The congresswoman has run for the Senate — she lost a primary to then-Rep. Ron Klink in 2000 — and has made no secret of her interest in another statewide bid. Schwartz would almost certainly have the financial and organizational support of Emily’s List, a powerful chit in her favor, particularly in a Democratic primary. Schwartz’s hurdle is whether she can sell herself as a candidate outside the Philadelphia media market.
Josh Shapiro: Shapiro, a former congressional aide who is a member of the state House, is seen as one of the party’s rising stars. But he would almost certainly defer to any of the [five other names listed above him], and, if Schwartz runs, Shapiro would probably be a candidate for her House seat.