JTA: How and where the Democrats and Republicans are trying to woo Jewish swing voters
By Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
WASHINGTON (JTA) ...In years past I have sat among crowds rallied by Jewish campaign surrogates in packed synagogues in Ohio and bingo halls in Florida, and I’ve followed canvassers searching for mezuzahs in neighborhoods known for having large Jewish populations.
Severe limits on in-person campaigning imposed by the coronavirus pandemic means we’re not likely to be bringing you those stories this season. But a very different election year doesn’t mean the Jewish vote in swing states is less important.
This week, I asked people working to get out the Jewish vote — partisan and nonpartisan — where they’re concentrating their efforts, how much they’re planning to spend, what adjustments they’re making because of the pandemic and what is preoccupying them down-ballot. Here’s what they told me.
The Republican Jewish Coalition appears to have the most advanced operation in place. With $10 million pledged to reelect Donald Trump and secure GOP control in Congress, that may not be a surprise.
The RJC’s get-out-the-vote operation already has four workers on staff in Florida, according to Matt Brooks, its executive director, and volunteers have made 300,000 phone calls to Jewish voters in swing states — a preliminary round of phone banking where the goal is not persuasion but identification, to see how committed a voter is to reelecting Trump and what issues they are considering ahead of Election Day. This lays the ground for more calls and texts later in the season that are tailored to the individual voter.
...Here are some Senate races where the partisan PACs will go head to head, according to their endorsements:
- Maine: The Republican Jewish Coalition has endorsed Sen. Susan Collins; the Democratic Majority for Israel, J Street and the Jewish Democratic Council of America are backing her challenger, Sara Gideon.
- South Carolina: RJC, Sen. Lindsey Graham; JDCA and J Street, Harrison.
- Georgia: RJC, Sen. David Perdue; JDCA and J Street, Ossoff.
- Colorado: RJC, Sen. Cory Gardner; JDCA, DMFI and J Street, challenger John Hickenlooper.
- Michigan: JDCA and DMFI, Sen. Gary Peters; RJC, challenger John James.
- Arizona: RJC, Sen. Martha McSally; JDCA and J Street, challenger Mark Kelly.