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October 28, 1988 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-10-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ELECTIONS



Pro-Israel PACs see a good oppor-
tunity in Colorado, where challenger
Martha Ezzard, who has moderately
strong pro-Israel credentials, is given
a good chance of defeating Dan
Schaefer, the Republican incumbent
who has a weak record on Israel.
In Georgia, one of the stranger
races pits Ben Jones, the television ac-
tor, against GOP incumbent Pat
Swindall. In a campaign marred by
corruption charges against Swindall,
Jones has impressed pro-Israel ac-
tivists with his strong Middle East
position paper and his ties to the
Jewish community.
In Utah, Rep. Jim Hansen, with
a weak record on Middle East issues,
is facing a stiff challenge from former
Rep. Gunn McKay — who was con-
sidered a strong friend of Israel dur-
ing his years in Congress.
In Ohio, Rep. Delbert Latta, a Re-
publican, is stepping down — to the
relief of some pro-Israel activists. His
replacement is likely to be state Sen.

Paul Gillmor, a Republican who has
impressed some pro-Israel activists.
In Florida, pro-Israel heavyweight
Larry Smith, a Democrat, is fighting
a different kind of battle: a battle
against voter confusion. His opponent
is Dr. Joseph Smith; making matters
worse is the fact that Dr. Smith's
name will appear first on the ballot.
Despite this, observers generally
expect that Larry Smith, the most
consistent opponent of arms sales to
Arab nations in Congress, will be re-
elected. But his campaigners are tak-
ing nothing for granted.
And Rep. Pete Kostmayer (D-Pa.),
a member of the key foreign affairs
committee who works well with
Jewish activists, is facing a tough
fight against two opponents — Ed
Howard, a Republican, and Donald
Errisberger, a Libertarian.
Ernsberger has made Kostmay-
er's strong support for Israel an issue
in the campaign and has alluded to
the congressman's ties to the pro-

88

Israel community. The Libertarian
candidate also has brought the issue
of Israel's treatment of Palestinian
dissidents into the campaign.
Kostmayer's problem is com-
pounded by changing registration
patterns in his Bucks County district.
The district is increasingly
Republican; current estimates sug-
gest a recent drop of some 30,000
Democratic registrations.
Finally, a Michael Dukakis vic-
tory could have one strange by-
product for the Jewish delegation in
Congress; there is active speculation
that Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard is
in line for a Dukakis cabinet, and
that his likely replacement would be
Rep. Sander Levin, who came close to
winning the position several times in
the past. This would eliminate one
highly effective Jewish seat on the
House side and deprive Sen. Carl
Levin, his brother, of a squash part-
ner in Washington.
Another fact will be casting a

shadow over the congressional elec-
tion in November. The House is facing
the trauma of redistricting after the
1990 census, and there is speculation
that the Jewish delegation on the Hill
may be particularly hard hit.
Already there is talk that the
venerable Sid Yates (D-Ill.), may be
the natural victim of Chicago's ex-
pected loss of one or two seats.
And an underground battle has
been underway for several years
between Rep. Charles Schumer and
Rep. Stephen Solarz, Democrats
whose New York districts may be
affected by New York's expected loss
of a seat.
Significant redistricting may af-
fect Jewish delegations from Florida
and California, as well.
So in many of these races, the
1988 contest is just a kind of warmup
to the broader battle to survive
redistricting. Strong showings in 1988
could be an important weapon in sur-
viving the redistricting process.



THE JEWISH VOTE

The issues working well for George
Bush are sabotaging his efforts in
the Jewish community

JAMES DAVID BESSER

Washington Correspondent

he presidential campaign is
moving into its desperate home
stretch, and the Jewish com-
munity — like the rest of the
nation — seems anxious for the
unsavory spectacle to end.
The election marathon has been
punctuated by reports that the public
in general is dissatisfied with the
tenor of both campaigns—although,
paradoxically, the analysts also sug-
gest that negative campaigning has
been a major factor in the rise of Vice
President George Bush in the polls.
And there is ample evidence that
the campaign for Jewish hearts and
minds has taken on a particularly
negative tone.
• From a Jewish perspective, the
campaign can be distilled to a few
basic assumptions. The first is that
both candidates have done everything
possible to keep the nitty-gritty of
Middle East policy out of the debate.

T

Michael Dukakis

Both candidates have emphasized the
importance of the U.S.- Israeli
strategic relationship, but neither has
done much to define that relationship
in the context of a changing world.
The second is that the GOP has
done a better job of focusing the atten-
tion of Jewish voters on a few highly
emotional symbols—some call it
negative campaigning, others call it
shrewd strategic planning. This has
forced the Democrats into a largely
defensive posture—despite their
strong lead in party identification
among Jews.
And finally, none of this may mat-
ter a whit, at least in terms of the
final tally of Jewish votes on
November 8.
Most observers continue to predict
a strong Jewish majority for the
Dukakis-Bensten ticket, despite ner-
vous speculation about the impact of
Jesse Jackson. And polls of the

George Bush

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

23

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