Jewish Democrats Eye Historic Gains In Congress As #BlueWave Builds by the Forward

Jewish Democrats Eye Historic Gains In Congress As #BlueWave Builds

Jewish Democrats are on the cusp of making major gains in the upcoming midterm elections with a Forward analysis now predicting at least 4 Jews will flip seats in the House of Representatives.

With an anti-Trump #BlueWave building in suburbs from coast to coast, Jews are likely to win at least 27 seats when America votes on November 6 — a whopping 18% boost over the 23 they hold now.

A Forward model simulating continued movement towards Democrats shows Jews could win up to 8 or 9 additional seats, a shift of historic proportions. Even if polls swing back towards the GOP, Jews stand to pick up one or two seats.


What’s driving the big changes?

Several races have shifted decisively in favor of Jewish Democrats since Labor Day, including those crucial suburban swing districts in Southern California and outside Seattle and Minneapolis.

Mike Levin looks to be a shoo-in to grab an open seat in Orange County that was held for years by retiring Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.

Dean Phillips was known mostly as ‘Dear Abby’s grandson’ when he launched his campaign. Now Republicans have all but conceded he will snatch a GOP-held seat outside the Twin Cities.

Pediatrician Kim Schrier won a hard-fought primary in Washington State. Although polls have showed her locked in a neck-and-neck race, analysts note that more voters backed Democrats in the state’s unusual “jungle primary” — a reliable sign that she will win next month.

Outside Detroit, Elissa Slotkin is considered a modest favorite to oust freshman Rep. Mike Bishop in a suburban district that showcases a swing away from President Trump.

Dana Balter, whose grandparents were Holocaust survivors, is mounting a tenacious fight against Rep. John Katko in a Syracuse-area district that is a Democratic target because it was carried by Hillary Clinton.

Along with those marquee matchups, an eye-opening number of Jewish candidates — almost all Democrats — remain firmly within striking distance of overtaking Republican incumbents.

None of those candidates, like Max Rose on Staten Island, Elaine Luria in Virginia Beach and Kathy Manning in suburban Greensboro, North Carolina, are in the lead yet. But if the #BlueWave turns into a tsunami, it will likely carry them to victory as well.

The Forward analysis starts with basic math: There are 23 seats held by Jews in the current House of Representatives, including 21 Democrats and two Republicans.

Both Jewish Republican are ahead. But even if Lee Zeldin (R-New York) loses, his Democratic opponent, Perry Gershon, is also Jewish.

Three Democratic incumbents are retiring or seeking higher office, including Rosen and Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who is vying to be governor. No Jews are running to replace them. The third is retiring Sander Levin (D-Michigan), but his strongly Democratic seat is certain to stay in Jewish hands since his son won the Democratic primary nod.

Jews will pick up an additional seat because of a quirk in a newly drawn district in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, where Democrat Susan Wild is facing off against Republican Marty Nothstein. Wild is leading, but both candidates are Jewish, in any case.

Despite a blip of GOP excitement around the controversial nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, liberal enthusiasm and anger at Trump remains the defining feature of the midterms.

Democrats remain about 8% ahead of the GOP in polls of the so-called generic congressional ballot, which asks what party respondents want to see control the House.

Ten Jewish Democratic challengers in all have a decent chance of winning seats where non-Jewish Republicans are retiring, or against non-Jewish Republican incumbents. One Jewish Republican, Lena Epstein, is fading in her bid to replace retiring GOP Rep. David Trott in a Michigan swing district, the 11th.

The Forward’s election projection uses input from highly-regarded forecasters including the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and Inside Elections.

The Forward has assigned a real-time probability of each Jewish candidate winning his or her race. Those probabilities produce a weighted average of expected outcomes across all the races involving Jewish candidates, leading to a predicted number of Jewish winners and a confidence range associated with that prediction.

FullStack Labs CIO, Dr. Benjamin Carle, who has a Ph.D. in computer science and is an expert in data structures and algorithms, helped create the projections.


Dave Goldiner

Dave Goldiner

Dave Goldiner is the Forward’s director of digital media. Dave is a veteran journalist who has spent two decades working at newspapers in the United States and Africa. A native New Yorker, Goldiner wrote for the New York Daily News, where he covered some of the biggest stories of our time, including the attacks of September 11, along with thousands of stories of hope and heartbreak. He also studied and worked in Southern Africa and has written for publications in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He holds masters degrees in journalism and public administration from Columbia University. Dave can be reached at, or follow him on Twitter @davegoldiner

Jewish Democrats Eye Historic Gains In Congress As #BlueWave Builds

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