JTA: A guide to the Jewish Democratic House candidates in the 2018 midterm elections

October 16, 2018
Josh Gottheimer, 43
5th District, the state’s northernmost, encompassing suburbs of New York and rural areas, in Congress since 2017.
Known for: Wresting the district from right-wing Republican Scott Garrett in the 2016 election. The district had been Republican since before the New Deal and was seen as drifting rightward. Gottheimer won by steering straight to the center, emphasizing his closeness to the Clintons (he was a speechwriter during Bill Clinton’s presidency).
Jewish stuff: Gottheimer’s Jewish constituents include a substantial Orthodox contingent in Teaneck and Englewood, and his pro-Israel politics are accordingly conservative. He went out of his way to say he would have voted against the Iran deal had he been in Congress. This election, a vandal in Gottheimer’s district has defaced a supporter’s home three times with anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti.
Endorsements: JACPAC, center-right pro-Israel PACs like NORPAC, and the centrist Jewish Democratic Council of America
Prospects: A 29 in 30 chance of becoming a sophomore.
Lauren Baer, international law attorney
18th District stretching north from Palm Beach. Challenging incumbent Republican Brian Mast.
Know this: Baer would be the second lesbian elected to Congress. She was an adviser to secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and to U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. She has been endorsed by the rabbi who presided at her bat mitzvah.
Endorsements: Besides her rabbi? JACPAC, J Street, Jewish Democratic Council of America, Obama.
Prospects: Weak: a 1 in 8 chance of flipping the seat.
David Holden, financial adviser
19th District on the southwest coast. Challenging incumbent Republican Francis Rooney.
Know this: Holden’s campaign emphasis is on the effect of climate change on the local tourism industry.
Prospects: Very weak: a 1 in 80 shot.
Andy Levin, labor activist and entrepreneur
9th District covering Detroit’s northern suburbs, running to replace retiring Democrat Sandy Levin, his father.
Know this: Levin’s family has deep roots in Michigan: His father is the dean of congressional Jewish members, serving since 1983, and his uncle, Carl, was the state’s longtime senator. Andy Levin is chair of the Detroit Jews for Justice steering committee.
Endorsements: Jewish Democratic Council of America
Prospects: Shoo-in.
Elissa Slotkin, business consultant
Elissa Slotkin (Elissa Slotkin for Congress)
8th District covering parts of the state’s Southeast, including East Lansing, challenging incumbent Republican incumbent Mike Bishop.
Know this: Slotkin was raised on a farm and has worked for the CIA and the Bush National Security Council. Much of her emphasis has been on preserving Obama-era health care protections, but she has talked about her national security credentials.
Endorsements: Jewish Democratic Council of America, JACPAC, Obama
Prospects: Looking good: a 5 in 9 chance that Slotkin will flip the district red to blue.
Dean Phillips, entrepreneur
3rd District covering areas and suburbs west of Minneapolis, challenging incumbent Republican Erik Paulsen.
Know this: Phillips’ birth father, Artie Pfefer, was a U.S. Army captain killed in action in Vietnam and never met his son. (His campaign website includes heartbreaking audio of a tape Pfefer sent home describing how much he looked forward to seeing his son.) His mother remarried Edward Phillips, a distillery heir and the son of the original Dear Abby, Pauline Phillips.
Endorsements: Jewish Democratic Council of America, Obama
Prospects: Very good: 5 in 6 chance of flipping the district.
Kathy Manning, philanthropist and former immigration lawyer
Kathy Manning (Kathy Manning for Congress)
13th District encompassing Greensboro, challenging incumbent Republican Ted Budd.
Know this: Manning was the first woman to chair the Jewish Federations of North America and the founding chairwoman of Prizmah, the umbrella body for Jewish day schools of all denominations.
Endorsements: JACPAC, Jewish Democratic Council of America
Prospects: Decent: 2 in 5 chance of winning.
Susan Wild, attorney
7th District encompassing the Lehigh Valley, seeking to replace Republican Pat Meehan, who resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal.
Know this: Wild was drawn into Jewish activism by her son’s urging her to join Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, a path typical of many parents who register their kids for Jewish activities. She is on the board of directors of the local Jewish federation.
Endorsements: Jewish Democratic Council of America, Obama, JACPAC, Democratic Jewish Outreach PA
Prospects: Very good: The 7th is a 39 in 40 chance for a Democratic pickup.
Kim Schrier, pediatrician
8th District, stretching east and north from Seattle’s exurbs, seeking to replace retiring Republican incumbent Dave Reichert.
Know this: Schrier’s agenda is primarily about health care reform, but she also says that she was moved to run as a Jewish American after the deadly neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
Endorsements: Obama, Jewish Democratic Council of America, J Street
Prospects: A toss-up: The 538 blog gives Schrier a 4 in 9 chance. Local reporting suggests that the brutal Kavanaugh confirmation swung a traditionally conservative district back toward Republican nominee Dino Rossi after it appeared that Schrier was likely to win.