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Even in California, The Establishment Wins

Taitz, Winograd, and Kaus all defeated in primaries

Allison Hoffman
June 09, 2010
Ex-Senate candidate Mickey Kaus, who did, in fact, quit his day job.(Bildungblog)
Ex-Senate candidate Mickey Kaus, who did, in fact, quit his day job.(Bildungblog)

The Lakers won last night! But point guard Derek Fisher’s game-clinching shot occurred in Boston. What happened in yesterday’s home games? The California primary ballot was, recall, loaded with drama, much of it involving Jews, Israel, or some delightful combination of the two.

Let’s start with the big news: The Soviet Jewish “Birther Queen” Orly Taitz will not be the Golden State’s Secretary of State. She lost decisively to former NFL player Damon Dunn despite the fact that he refused to dignify his opponent with an actual campaign. Of course, as the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel pointed out, the news may be that 368,316 people voted for a woman with fewer than two dozen donors who claims that Barack Obama’s presidency is procedurally illegitimate. Thank you, California.

Now, the Senate races. On the Democratic side, incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer cruised to an easy victory over Slate blogger and descendant-of-Jewish-Gold-Rushers Mickey Kaus; he picked up just five percent of the vote share, although he does now have the right to say that 93,599 voters really, really like him. (Thank you, California.) Among the Republicans, Carly Fiorina, who made Israel an issue early in the race, earned a decisive win, polling 56 percent over moderate Tom Campbell (22 percent) and Tea Party conservative Chuck DeVore (19 percent). Was Israel the deciding factor, in the end? Almost certainly not: The venerable Field Poll indicated that Republican voters were angling not so much for their favorite choice as for the best setup for a slam-dunk win over Boxer in the fall. So, stay tuned!

Meantime, we learned exactly how much Israel is worth in the Los Angeles congressional district represented by Jane Harman, the Blue Dog Democrat who has been a longtime AIPAC supporter. Harman’s opponent, peace activist Marcy Winograd, tried to make the Gaza flotilla raid into a wedge issue in the last week of the race, and managed to net 41 percent against Harman’s 59 percent. That’s not bad for an underfunded upstart against a wealthy longtime incumbent, but when you note that she was starting from a base of 38 percent in the 2006 primary, well, it looks like Israel is worth approximately 3.7 points in said district.

See you in November!

Earlier: Israel Hits the West Coast
Related: In Doubt’s Shadow [Tablet Magazine]

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.