In an report that AIPAC was pleased with yesterday’s results (it helps when, as an Israeli Embassy spokesperson accurately put it, “Support for Israel at the Congress is strong and bipartisan”), Haaretz notes that Rep.-elect David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) “becomes the fourth openly gay member of Congress—and third Jewish gay member of Congress.” It’s true! The four openly gay congresspersons (there are no openly gay senators) will be Cicilline (currently the mayor of Providence); Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts); Jared Polis (D-Colorado); and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin). Baldwin is the only Gentile (and only lesbian) among them.
In other midterm wrap-up news, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) put a quick death to talk of a challenge to re-elected Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada)’s leadership position; on a conference call, third-ranked Schumer and second-ranked Sen. Dick Durbin (Illinois) literally answered simultaneously, “Absolutely!” when asked if Reid would remain Majority Leader. And defeated Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), known for being a maverick of the left (he was famously the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001), put an equally quick death to talk that he would consider a primary challenge to President Obama. Well, nearly as quick: A spokesperson said, “I would chalk up any Beltway chatter about Russ running against President Obama as simply Washington getting wee-wee’d up on the first day of a new election cycle that is two years away.” If the wee-wee’ing continues, we will keep you posted.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.