Iowa and New Hampshire have spoken and shaken up the presidential races in both political parties. The contest between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will likely be decided in the 20 states in which primaries will be held on February 5. The Republican nomination contest may be more muddled with Huckabee, Giuliani, McCain and Romney all still in the mix – but it too will likely be resolved on February 5. What does this mean? Jewish votes will matter. Among the (too) many states holding primaries on Feb. 5: New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona and Tennessee all with substantial Jewish populations; most of whom are registered Democrats, but there are plenty of Republicans and Independents, and are known to turn out disproportionately to our percentage of the overall population.
While Senator Clinton has had more than a six year senate term to cultivate her relationships with American Jews and become the community “favorite,” Senator Obama has done his share of outreach to the community since he has burst on the scene as well. Thanks to his mayoralty in NYC, Rudy Giuliani certainly remains a in the community, but McCain can come on strong with a long record of support for Israel and Joe Lieberman in his corner (and potentially on his ticket?)
Bottom line: We expect a lot of phone calling, direct mailing, ads in your local Jewish papers, meetings with rabbis and showing up for bagels & lox in the coming weeks – and yes, this is good for the Jews.