Jewish Candidates Skip New York Mayor's Race, But Crowd Vies in Los Angeles

Rare No-Jew Race in Gotham as Trio Aims for History in Calif.


By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published February 19, 2013, issue of February 22, 2013.
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New York City and Los Angeles will both elect new mayors this year. One city will likely pick a Jew. The other will not.

Think you know which city is which?

New York seems primed for another Jewish mayor. Three of the past five have been Jewish, including the current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the recently deceased Ed Koch. Nearly every mayoral race in recent memory has included a Jewish candidate. This is New York, after all.

Yet in 2013, not a single one of the handful of front-runners vying to replace Bloomberg is Jewish.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, has had plenty of Jewish elected officials, but never a Jewish mayor. Now, both of the leading candidates for the office are Jews. Another top contender is married to a Jew and says she herself is interested in converting.

So are the Jews of New York losing their touch? Is the weight of Jewish political power shifting west?

Well, probably not.

“Some of it is simply quirky stuff,” said Raphael Sonenshein, a political scientist and executive director of the Pat Brown Institute at California State University, Los Angeles.

New York City’s mayoral race, for instance, would have looked rather different had former congressman Anthony Weiner not accidentally Tweeted a close-up photo of his briefs (with him inside them) in June 2011.


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