New Jersey – The Democrats’ outreach to Jews in the New Jersey gubernatorial race came into focus this week as the National Jewish Democratic Council began a special focus on Bergen County and its large Orthodox population.
“We are really focusing hard on northern New Jersey, especially Bergen County,” said Linda Berg, NJDC’s political director. “I really can’t give you a sense of how much we are spending. Our members are busy raising money. We have an ad campaign, and we will be doing direct mail, but we don’t like to disclose numbers,” she said.
With an estimated 100,000 Jews — 15,000 of them in the Orthodox community — Bergen has a higher concentration of Jewish voters than any other county in the state.
“We feel there are a lot of Jews there, and we want to make sure we don’t have a fallout of the Democratic vote in a place where there is a big concentration of voters,” Berg said.
She is dispatching organizers “who are going to events where Jewish voters gather” and “doing phone-banking on issues to get out the Jewish vote.
“We are targeting Orthodox voters,” Berg said. “We have a few Orthodox rabbis who work with us very closely. We have people in New Jersey who know how to talk to the Orthodox vote.”
Robert Yudin, who chairs the Bergen County Republican Organization, said the Democrats “should be worried about the Jewish vote. There is a very big uneasiness about the direction the Democratic Party is going, relative to the Middle East,” he told NJ Jewish News. “When you couple it with the absolute corruption going on in Bergen County, there is an uneasiness, and you are going to see a larger percentage of Jews voting Republican than in past years.”
Yudin said he believes the Orthodox community “is overwhelmingly going to vote Republican” because “they are furious with Obama over Israel. As far as the rest of the Jewish community, most of them will probably vote Democratic, but I suspect we’re going to see more of the Jewish community voting Republican than have in past years.”
Unlike Corzine or independent candidate Christopher Daggett, Republican candidate Chris Christie supports vouchers and tax credits for families who send their children to parochial schools, an issue that resonates with many Orthodox voters. Read the rest of this entry »