Recount expected in Franken-Coleman race
The US Senate race in Minnesota between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and comedian Al Franken is likely to go to a recount. With nearly 2.9 million votes cast, Coleman defeated Franken by 571 votes, 1,210,942 to 1,210,371, the Associated Press reported.
The final margin was well within a state mandate for an automatic recount, which may not be finished until December.
The candidates, both Jewish, have fought an intensely bitter campaign.
Franken, a Democrat, accused Coleman of corruption and Coleman used Frankens satiric writings against him.
Only Jewish House Republican re-elected
The only Republican Jewish member of the House of Representatives has been re-elected. Rep. Eric Cantor, from Virginia’s 7th Congressional District in the Richmond area, serves as the chief deputy minority whip for the GOP and has been rumored as a candidate for an even higher position in the party leadership. His name was also floated as a possible running mate for John McCain this summer.
Eng, Taddeo defeated
A Chinese-American Jew and a Jewish Latina woman both lost their congressional bids.
Democrat Hank Eng, a recent convert to Judaism, was defeated by Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman, a Republican, in the race for retiring GOP lawmaker Tom Tancredo’s seat. No Democrat has won the seat since it was created in 1980.
In South Florida, Colombian-born Democrat Annette Taddeo lost to 19-year GOP incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Cuban-born Republican has long been a strong advocate for Israel and currently is ranking minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Dole falls in NC after atheist ad
Elizabeth Dole has lost her Senate seat in North Carolina. The one-term senator was defeated by Democratic State Sen. Kay Hagen, whom Dole inaccurately accused of being an atheist in the late stages of the campaign.
A Dole television ad implied that Hagen shared the views of the G-dless Americans PAC.
Shaheen wins in New Hampshire
Early returns suggest that Jeanne Shaheen, the former New Hampshire governor, defeated incumbent US Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.).
Sununu had been a leading Republican backer in the US Senate of greater US engagement in the Middle East; in his earlier career in the US House of Representatives, he often bucked initiatives backed by AIPAC.
His father, John Sununu, had a tense relationship with pro-Israel groups when he served the first President Bush as chief of staff. Shaheen’s campaign, her second race for the Senate seat against Sununu, used Sununu’s past in a pitch for pro-Israel support, particularly in a letter from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is Jewish.
Both candidates have Arab-American connections; Sununu is of Palestinian descent and Shaheen’s husband, Bill, a prominent lawyer and Democratic activist in the state, is also an Arab American.
All Jewish freshmen returning
All six Jewish freshmen in the US House of Representatives will return to Washington in January.
The lawmakers, all Democrats who won their re-election bids on Tuesday, are: Steve Kagen in Wisconsin, Paul Hodes in New Hampshire, Ron Klein in Florida, John Yarmuth in Kentucky, Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona and Steve Cohen in Tennessee.
Giffords ran against Arizona Senate president Tim Bee, pitting former elementary and middle school classmates against each other.
Blind rabbi loses congressional bid
A blind rabbi has lost his race for Congress. Dennis Shulman was defeated by three-term incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett in New Jerseys 5th Congrssional District by a 56-42% margin. Shulman received national attention for his unique personal story.
McConnell retains Senate seat
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate minority leader, has kept his seat.
McConnell faced a strong late term challenge from Bruce Lunsford, a businessman who targeted McConnell as a Washington insider at a time of economic crisis. His defeat would have been a body blow against Republicans, bringing Democrats closer to a filibuster-busting 60 seats in the Senate.
McConnell, leading 51-49 in ballot counting, would have been the second Senate leader ousted in an election; Republicans successfully targeted Senate majority leader Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) in 2002.
McConnell has a strong pro-Israel record and has been a regular speaker at AIPAC forums. He has linked his support for the Iraq war to protecting Israel, a position that is not broadly popular in the Jewish community.
Lautenberg, Levin win again
US Sen. Frank Lautenberg won his fifth Senate term in New Jersey and Carl Levin won his sixth in Michigan.
Lautenberg, 84, the Democrat, defeated Republican Dick Zimmer in one of two US Senate races matching two Jewish candidates this year.
Lautenberg stressed his record as a protector of the environment and foe of big oil.
Former US Rep. Zimmer was best known for his sponsorship of the federal version of Megans Law, which requires notification of neighbors when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood.
Carl Levin, the Democratic Jewish chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, handily fended off a longshot challenge from Jack Hoogendyk, a state representative.
Peres hails Obama victory
Shimon Peres praised the election of Barack Obama as an opportunity to end the world crisis and as an end of racism.
It was an American election and a worldwide choice, the Israeli president said in a statement praising the Democrat for winning the presidency Tuesday.
“I don’t recall any other election that practically all of humanity was following with hope and concern. I want to congratulate the newly elected President: young, fresh, promising, representing a change and introducing change.
“The changes that I can mention — it is an opportunity to escape the present world crisis and enter into a new era of cooperation, of productive economy and of human solidarity. In a way, it is an end of racism. There is no longer any way that any white man can claim superiority, nor any black person feel discrimination. We are the same people, and this election is a great statement to that effect.”
Peres, an amateur poet, attached to the statement the full text of a letter he had written to Obama:
”Dear Mr. President, the world needs a great leader. It is in your making. It is in our prayers. G-d bless you.”
Livni hails Obama
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, also welcomed Obama’s election, noting his tour of a town besieged until recently by terrorists based in the Gaza Strip.
”During Barack Obama’s recent visit to Israel, and especially during the tour we conducted together in the city of Sderot, the people of Israel were impressed by his commitment to the peace and security of Israel,” she said in a statement.
“President-elect Obama has proven his leadership and talents to the whole world,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a congratulatory statement.
”The special Israel-US relationship is based on shared values and interests and is characterized by ties of close cooperation. Israel and the US have a common desire to advance peace and stability in the Middle East.
“We have no doubt that the special relations that prevail between the two countries will continue to strengthen during the Obama administration.”