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The Jewish vote outcome leaves much room for debate on both sides. For Democrats, it could require a look into ways to counter the slow but distinctive creep of Jewish voters toward the Republican side. Republicans, on the other hand, will have to ponder the effectiveness of their massive cash infusion directed at swaying Jewish voters, a move that brought about only small change.
Florida, one of three key swing states that determined the election and the prime target of Republican and Democratic Jewish outreach effort, seemed to have been a bit more receptive to the Republican message, with 34% of Jewish voters, according to exit polls, voting Romney. Still, the heavily Jewish populated counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, voted heavily toward Obama, accounting for his narrow lead in the state.
For Jewish candidates for Congress it was a mixed night.
In a race that gained national interest, Brad Sherman led Howard Berman in the battle to represent California’s newly drawn 30th congressional district in the House of Representatives. The two Jewish sitting congressmen engaged in a bitter fight, but Sherman’s strong ground operation and his well-maintained ties with the local constituency, outweighed Berman’s backing from top party officials. Berman, one of the most active Jewish members of Congress and the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs committee will be leaving Washington come January.
In Ohio, Jewish Republican Josh Mandel, a Tea Party sympathizer and fiscal conservative hardliner, lost his bid to unseat incumbent Sherrod Brown in a race that attracted significant out of state funding. The GOP had pegged its hopes on Mandel, 35, the Ohio State Treasurer and an up and coming figure in the Republican Party, who for a while succeeded in posing a threat to Brown. But in final count, the Democrat incumbent won the race handedly. In other races involving Jewish candidates, Rhode Island congressman David Cicilline won his re-election in face of a tough race that attracted a lot of money and interest.
And in Florida’s 22nd district, another Jew vs. Jew race ended with Democrat Lois Frankel beat Republican Adam Hasner with a large margin.