Jewish allies of Republican Reps. J.D. Hayworth and John Shadegg of Arizona are slated to hold a meet-and-greet with them next Wednesday evening in Scottsdale.
File the event, which is being hosted by the Arizona chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, in your conceptual folder titled, “Loyal Supporters Don’t Slip on a Little Mud.”
As we reported in our pages this summer, Hayworth recently came under fire for comments in his new book that touted the pro-assimilation beliefs of antisemitic automaker Henry Ford.
Meanwhile, Shadegg, formerly a member of the House leadership, stands on the edges of Foley-gate. While Shadegg has said he first learned of the scandal last Friday, Arizona’s Democratic candidates have been pounding him on the issue. The critics include Ellen Simon, who is challenging Republican Rep. Rick Renzi in the first district. Simon is the child of Holocaust survivors.
Arizona’s RJC chapter is about a year-and-a-half old, and the event is not a fundraiser.
Jewish Republicans in the area are growing in strength and numbers, along with the southwestern Jewish community as a whole.
In the coming weeks, an informal group of Jewish Republicans will hold a fundraiser for Sen. Jon Kyle that is expected to net at least $25,000.
And after the Henry Ford scandal broke, Hayworth took it seriously enough to explain himself at an early September luncheon for an informal Jewish networking group. He reportedly handed out photocopies of the passage in question in order to explain the “context” of the quotations, and said he was not endorsing Ford’s antisemitism.
Speaking to the Forward from her home in Scottsdale, RJC volunteer Amy Laff said she was completely comfortable holding an event with the two lawmakers.
“These two happen to be very popular with my membership,” Laff said. “Both are strong supporters of Israel and of border security … [and] those are hot topics with my members.”