Coleman-Franken recount likely as blind rabbi loses

Coleman-Franken recount likely as blind rabbi loses

Two Jewish candidates were elected to Congress for the first time.
One of them — Jared Polis, 33 —has made history as the first openly gay nonincumbent male elected to Congress. He will represent Colorado’s heavily Democratic 2nd Congressional District, which includes Boulder and other Denver suburbs.
Polis is a multimillionaire Internet entrepreneur who founded the Internet site for his parents’ Blue Mountain Arts greeting card company and donated more than $5 million to his campaign. In the campaign, he emphasized his background as a champion of public education — he is a founder of two Colorado charter schools and a six-year member of the state Board of Education. He also supports a universal health care system and a quick end to the war in Iraq.
Also elected to Congress Tuesday was John Adler, a Democrat who won an open seat in Trenton, N.J., that had been held for 20 years by Republican Jim Saxton, who is retiring. Adler, a longtime state legislator, is Jewish.
But the spotlight continues to be on the Minnesota senatorial race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and comedian Al Franken. That election is likely headed for a recount.
With 96 percent of the ballots counted, the candidates were neck in neck early Wednesday morning, and neither candidate has edged ahead more than the one half of one percent that would trigger a recount.
The candidates, both Jewish, have fought an intensely bitter campaign, with Franken, a Democrat, accusing Coleman of corruption and Coleman using Franken’s satiric writings against him.
Elsewhere Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Frank Lautenberg easily won reelection Tuesday night and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, was returned to office.
But a blind rabbi has lost his bid for Congress.
Rabbi Dennis Shulman was defeated by three-term incumbent Rep. Scott Garrett in New Jersey’s 5th Congressional District by a 56-42 percent margin.
“We did not win the election, but we were right on the issues, including education, health care, the environment and the Iraq war,” Shulman said in his concession speech in Paramus, N.J.
Shulman,who received national attention for his unique personal story, had called Garrett “too conservative” for the Bergen County-area district, and had accused the Republican of taking an improper tax break and being too close to a mortgage company connected to the economic crisis. Garrett denied any wrongdoing and responded in kind, airing a negative advertisement accusing Shulman of wanting to negotiate with Hamas terrorists and calling him “too extreme for New Jersey.” (Shulman denies supporting talks with Hamas, saying he backs whatever diplomatic approach that Israel adopts on the issue.)
Garrett called on Shulman to “renounce” the endorsement he received from the left-leaning pro-Israel group J Street. Shulman defended the endorsement, saying he backs the new group’s desire to see the United States play a more active role in promoting Israel-Palestinian negotiations. Garrett received the endorsement of the New Jersey-based pro-Israel political action committee NORPAC.