Dems Rejoice After Cantor’s Loss, Jewish Republicans Stunned
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
“Although there wasn’t a Jewish component in Cantor’s loss it is sad that the Republican party has lost its only Jewish member of the House and a thriving Jewish community should have Jews in prominent positions in both parties,”
Eric Cantor’s primary loss took everyone by surprise. From the incumbent himself, to his colleagues in leadership positions, Democrats and Jewish Republicans.
But the Democrats, as well as the Tea Party hard liners, rushed to rejoice Cantor’s defeat.
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that Cantor’s loss, “settles the debate once and for all – the Tea Party has taken control of the Republican Party. Period.”
“When Eric Cantor, who time and again has blocked common-sense legislation to grow the middle class, can’t earn the Republican nomination, it’s clear the GOP has redefined ‘far right.’ Democrats on the other hand have nominated a mainstream candidate who will proudly represent this district and I look forward to his victory in November,” Schultz said in a statement.
“Cong. Cantor was bested by a challenger who campaigned against sensible immigration policies, the kind of policies that enabled Mr. Cantor’s family to become United States citizens,” Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said in a statement.
With the stunning upset, the Republican party likely lost its only Jewish member of Congress. He is the highest ranking elected Jewish official in American history.
The Republican Jewish Coalition’s Executive Director, Matt Brooks tweeted, “Numbs. Speechless. Sad.” Ari Fleischer tweeted, “Hillary won big tonight. She can sell books tomorrow with little to no scrutiny of what she says in interviews. #CantorLoss.”
Brooks later released a lengthy statement: “We are disappointed that our friend Eric Cantor lost his primary race tonight, but we are proud of his many, many accomplishments in Congress… Eric has been an important pro-Israel voice in the House and a leader on security issues, including Iran sanctions. We deeply appreciate his efforts to keep our country secure and to support our allies around the world.”
“The RJC represents the unique viewpoint of the Republican Jewish community and acts as the bridge between the Jewish community and Republican elected officials. We are proud to have worked with Eric Cantor for the last 14 years,” the statement read.
Jeff Ballabon, dubbed as “the architect of Bush’s 2004 re-election effort in the Orthodox community” by the Forward, told JP that while “his leadership in Congress most surely will be missed, he’s a great patriot and a proud Jew who will continue to be an influential leader.”
Notwithstanding his future, Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran Democratic Party strategist, argued that with Cantor’s loss nobody remains to speak for Jewish concerns in a Republican dominated congress.
“Although there wasn’t a Jewish component in Cantor’s loss it is sad that the Republican party has lost its only Jewish member of the House and a thriving Jewish community should have Jews in prominent positions in both parties,” Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group and a known lobbyist on Capital Hill, told JP.
Cantor could still essentially launch a write-in campaign that could save him the seat.
Jewish Republicans have only one choice in the upcoming elections to try and get a Jewish member elected to congress, if NY State Senator Lee Zeldin (a Conservative darling) wins a contested primary and defeats incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop in NY’s 1st Congressional District. Ironically, Cantor recently came to headline a fundraiser for Zeldin, urging donors to get a Republican Jewish pair in Congress.
Correction: Reader points out that Bruce Blakeman in NY4 and Mark Greenberg in CT5 are also Jewish Republicans with a plausible path to Congress.