Jewish voters were instrumental in the California primaries and can help Democrats win in November, Democratic congressional candidate Mike Levin said after his second-place finish on Tuesday allowed him to advance to the general election.
Levin, who is running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa in southern Orange County, is now matched up against Republican Diane Harkey in a race that could be key to Democrats taking back the House this fall.
“We’ve gotten great support from the Jewish community and I’m really proud of that,” Levin told the Forward Wednesday afternoon, after getting just two hours of sleep on election night. “We anticipate really strong support in the general election as well.”
The party had a good showing overall in the district after concerns that California’s open “jungle primary,” where the top-two vote-getters advance regardless of party, could have let two Republicans sneak into the general.
Levin starts out as the favorite because the Democratic candidates scored more votes more than Republicans combined in the district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
Levin, whose father’s parents were both Jews, said he would continue to emphasize his support for a two-state solution while reaching out to Jewish voters, who are clustered mainly in northern San Diego.
“I think we’ve got a very dedicated group of San Diegans that care deeply about peace in the Middle East,” he said.
Levin’s district, the 49th, has a much larger Jewish population than the national average, making up 26,000 people, about four percent of the total population.
Levin said he was also happy Democrats did not get locked out of other close contests.
“I breathed a huge sigh of relief, not just for our race but all races across the state,” the candidate said. “If we are to take back the House, we have to win multiple districts in California.”