How Jews Will Do Next Tuesday
Bennet and Sestak may come from behind to win
Are you exhausted yet? Are you registered yet? Simchat Democracy, on which we celebrate the end of a grueling election cycle and the dawn of a new one the very next day, is only one week away.
Two weeks ago, I predicted (with Nate Silver’s indispensable aid) that of the ten Jewish Senate races, the Tribe would hold onto seats in New York, California, and Oregon while gaining a seat in Connecticut, losing two in Wisconsin and Colorado, and falling short in Arizona, New Hampshire, and Ohio. The Pennsylvania seat, which currently belongs to Democrat Arlen Specter, is already lost. But two weeks is forever in politics, and the races in Colorado and Pennsylvania (which remains Jewish-related) have become competitive.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), who is of Jewish descent, wants this to be about social issues, I said, since Republican Ken Buck tends to be to the right of most Coloradans on those issues. Bennet decided to listen to me and hammer Buck on Buck’s opposition to abortion. Then, playing on the same court, Buck made an unforced error on Meet the Press, comparing homosexuality to alcoholism (he walked back his comments afterward). Somewhere, Yehuda Levin was choking on a pastrami and salami sandwich. Keep a close watch on this one, which is basically a dead heat.
The Pennsylvania race between Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak and Republican former Rep. Pat Toomey (neither of whom is Jewish) has also narrowed. Sestak was even up in a few polls last week, for the first time in months. I said last time that this race is weird, and I’ll say it again. Nobody, Silver included, knows why the polls that changed did so, and Toomey will still likely win. (In fact, a tracking poll updated late last night showed him up 48-40) I can only assume that the J Street and Emergency Committee for Israel ads are finally having an effect. Or not.