Jewish contingent in House grows from 19 to 22

by | Nov 21, 2016 | Other News

WASHINGTON (JTA)—The Jewish contingent to the U.S. House of Representatives grew from 19 to 22 in the 2016 elections, doubling its Republican representation from one to two.

Five Jews overall were newly elected to the House, while one Jewish congressman in Florida and in New York are retiring. The Senate Jewish contingent dropped from nine to eight.

Three Democrats picked up seats from Republicans in an otherwise dismal night for their party, which saw the GOP sweep the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Picking up seats for the Democrats were:

• Josh Gottheimer, a former speech writer for President Bill Clinton and a Microsoft executive, who won a hard fought battle in New Jersey’s 5th District against Scott Garrett, a longtime congressman who was exceptionally conservative for this northeastern district. The election was marred in its final days with the appearance of an unsigned anti-Semitic leaflet targeting Gottheimer.

• Brad Schneider, who regained the seat he lost in 2014 from Bob Dold in Illinois’s 10th district, encompassing Chicago’s northern suburbs. Dold first won the seat in 2010, then lost it to Schneider in 2012.

• Jacky Rosen, a software developer and synagogue president, who won in Nevada’s 3rd District, covering the Las Vegas suburbs. Joe Heck, the district’s incumbent Republican, lost in his bid to replace Democrat Harry Reid in the Senate.

• Jamie Raskin, a Maryland state senator, who won the battle to replace Chris Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th District. The district includes the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. Van Hollen, a Democrat, was elected to the Senate.

• David Kustoff, a former U.S. attorney, who handily kept Tennessee’s 8th district Republican, replacing the retiring Stephen Fincher. Kustoff brings to two the Memphis Jewish delegation, joining Steve Cohen, a Democrat representing the 9th District, and the Republican Jewish delegation to Congress, joining Lee Zeldin, who was reelected in New York’s 9th District encompassing Long Island’s eastern reaches.

• Another Jewish Republican scoring a victory was Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who became the first Jewish governor of Missouri.

Leaving Congress is Steve Israel, representing a New York district in suburban Long Island, who is retiring, and Alan Grayson, who retired as a representative in Florida’s 9th District, in the south of the state, to run for the Democratic nomination to the Senate—he lost.

The Democratic contingent in the Senate will drop by one with the retirement of Barbara Boxer of California. Two Jewish Democrats in Missouri and Wisconsin failed in their bids to replace Republican incumbents.