In 1999, far in advance of the 2001 mayoral race, Chanina Sperlin and his Crown Heights Political Action Committee gave their blessing to Fernando Ferrer, then the Bronx borough president seeking the Democratic nomination.
This year, with barely nine months to go until this year’s election, the jury is still out in Crown Heights.
Taking his campaign to censure President Bush to Brooklyn this week, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin — who may be the next Jewish candidate for the White House — called on “the weak of heart in Washington” to join his cause.
Support thus far has been underwhelming. Only two other senators, both fellow Democrats, have backed Feingold’s resolution to reprimand the president for authorizing wiretaps in anti-terrorism surveillance without federal warrants “and then misleading the country about the existence and legality of the program.”
It’s not every day that City Council members win a victory against Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. So Ronnie Eldridge can be forgiven for gloating a bit last week when the mayor reversed his policy of banning press conferences by Council members on the steps of City Hall.
“It was impossible for him not to let us do it,” said the Upper West Side Democrat, who led a group of Council members in a defiant City Hall photo op two weeks ago, declaring that the mayor has overreacted to the threat against City Hall following recent U.S. action against terrorism.
Mark Green mentioned that his grandfather, Nathan, escaped Czarist Russia in a wheelbarrow. Alan Hevesi noted that had his father remained in Hungary, he would have been born in a Budapest ghetto where “a substantial number of my family was killed” in the Holocaust.
Fernando Ferrer spoke about bringing the Bronx back from the brink, while Peter Vallone boasted that “nothing happens in the City of New York unless I’m involved in it.”
Check the registration rolls, and the people of Borough Park will turn out to be overwhelmingly Democrats. But if you have walked around the most densely Jewish community in the five boroughs during recent major elections, you are likely to have seen mostly signs and bumper stickers reading “Pataki” or “D’Amato,” “Giuliani,” or “Bloomberg,” Republicans all.
The strong Jewish showing for Republican candidates in recent elections is no cause for concern, says the new chair of the state Democratic Party.
“I’m not accepting that they’re gone,” said Herman D. Farrell, who succeeded Judith Hope on Monday at a time of introspection for the party. “You stick with someone because when you get down to basic issues, you believe in what you see. A large percentage of our issues are those the Jewish community views as important.”
The organizations representing Jewish Republicans and Democrats were trading shots this week over the apparent involvement of two top Israeli leaders in the 2000 Senate race here.
Neither Prime Minister Ehud Barak, leader of the One Israel party, nor Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert of Likud have made explicit endorsements in the race. But within the span of two weeks, both politicians offered praise for the two presumptive candidates: Barak for Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democrat, and Olmert for Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Two Manhattan officials are criticizing the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services for arguing that the rape of an employee was a workplace injury, to be compensated by worker’s compensation rather than a civil judgment.
“I am asking that you immediately drop this offensive and sexist defense,” wrote Councilwoman Christine Quinn in a strongly worded letter to JBFCS.
Presidential contender Bill Bradley played it safe in his first foray into the Jewish community this week, steering clear of hot-button issues while persistently embracing his New York patron, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
The former New Jersey senator told Jewish leaders he will take no position on clemency for Israel spy Jonathan Pollard during his campaign.
In the opening salvo of what is expected to be a spirited war for New York’s Jewish vote, Democratic presidential contender Bill Bradley comes to town Monday night for an address to the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.