At least 38 Jewish candidates–11 Republicans and 27 Democrats–are campaigning in 14 states for 33 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives to be determined in the election Nov. 2, a canvass by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency shows. Only four of the candidates are women, three Democrats and a Republican. In five races–four in New York and one in Florida–Jewish candidates are competing against each other.
Of the 21 Jewish members of the House in the 94th Congress, 19 are seeking re-election. Of these, 17 are Democrats and two are Republicans Two others entered Senatorial races this year, and will not be returning to the House in January. They are Democrat Bella Abzug of New York, who lost in her party’s primary, and Republican Sam Steiger, who won the nomination in Arizona.
The 38–equally divided between incumbents and non-incumbents–constitute a numerical record for Jews to reach election day as House candidates. This total tops the number whose names appeared on the ballots two years ago when a record high of 21 Jews won Congressional seats. A record also is being set in the Senate races where five Jewish candidates, one a woman, are campaigning for seats in as many states. This number is besides the three Jewish incumbents whose terms are not in contest this year.
MORE EXPECTED IN NEXT CONGRESS
Commenting on the unprecedented numbers of Jewish candidates, David Brody, the Washington representative of B’nai B’rith’s Anti-Defamation League, who is a long-time observer of the national political scene, remarked: “Jewish members in the 95th Congress should exceed the number in the 94th–the previous high-water mark in Congress. The number of Jews running for House and Senate seats in the November elections–many of whom won primary fights–shows that being Jewish is no handicap in American politics and it should dispel the notion, held by some, that Jews are reluctant to run for public office.”
With almost half of America’s slightly less than six million Jews concentrated in New York State and most of them in Metropolitan New York City, it is not surprising that 17 of the candidates–close to half–precisely are in those areas. Of these, nine are incumbents.
Four Jews are candidates in California; three in Florida; two each in Illinois, Maryland and Michigan, and one each in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Georgia, Ohio, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts and North Carolina.
INCUMBENTS SEEKING RE-ELECTION
Incumbents seeking re-election include Sidney Yates, the Illinois Democrat and dean of Jewish Congressmen, who is seeking his 14th term. Head of the Appropriations Subcommittee for the Interior, Yates is one of five Jewish subcommittee chairmen in the 94th Congress. The other chairmen are Benjamin Rosenthal (D.NY), of the Government Operations Subcommittee on Commerce Consumer and Monetary Affairs; Joshua Eilberg (D.Pa.). the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration. Citizenship and International Law; Lester L. Wolff (D.NY), the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Future Foreign Policy, Research and Development, and Mrs. Abzug of the Government Operations Subcommittee on Government Information and Individual Rights.
Besides Yates, Rosenthal, Eilberg and Wolff, incumbents seeking re-election are Elizabeth Holtzman, James Scheuer, Frederick Richmond, Edward I. Koch, Richard Ottinger and Stephen Solarz, New York Democrats; Benjamin Gilman (R.NY), Edward Mezvinsky (D.Iowa), William Lehman (D.Fla.). Henry Waxman (D.Calif.). Abner Mikva (D.Ill.), Elliot Levitas (D.Ga.). Gladys Spellman (D.Md.), Willis Gradison (R.Ohio), and John Krebs (D.Calif.).
The 19 other Jewish candidates are Democrats Theodore Weiss, Allard Lowenstein, Gerald Halpern of New York; Anthony Beilenson and Gary Familian, California; Dan Glickman, Kansas; Dr. Charles Friedman, Florida; Dorothy Becker, Michigan; Arthur Goodman Jr., North Carolina; Lanny Davis, Maryland; and Republicans Bernard Plascowe, Paul Slotkin, Albert Lemishow, Josh Dobosh and Sonia Landau of New York; Don Friedman, Colorado; Arthur Mason, Massachusetts; Lee Arnold Spiegelman, Florida; James Burdick, Michigan.
Weiss and Plascowe are rivals as are Rosenthal and Lemishow, Solarz and Dobosh, Koch and Landau, Lehman and Spiegelman.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.