Americans will have to wait to see the first Orthodox rabbi in Congress after Republican Rabbi Shmuley Boteach failed to win a New Jersey seat.
The Kosher Sex author’s heavy defeat was one of many unsuccessful challenges by Jewish Republicans. Former Hawaii governor Linda Lingle lost out in the state’s senatorial election. In Ohio, former Marine Josh Mandel could not unseat the incumbent Democratic senator. Mindy Meyer — the 22-year-old Republican hopeful with a hot pink campaign website — took just three per cent of the vote in the race for New York State senator.
It was not all bad news for the Republicans, with House majority leader Eric Cantor returned to his Virginia seat for the seventh time.
Mr Cantor remains the only Jewish member of his party in Congress, but Jewish Democrats welcomed new members to the fold, including Alan Grayson in Florida — back to the House after being voted out two years ago — and Brad Schneider, a former kibbutz volunteer who carved out a narrow first-time victory in Illinois. Other stalwarts held their seats, including long-time California congressman Brad Sherman. But in Nevada, Shelley Berkley failed to swap a Congressional seat for one in the Senate.
Overall, the 2012 election has left the Jewish presence in Congress down by seven. Among those who will depart when the new term begins is Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman, who, but for a different outcome over Florida’s electoral votes 12 years ago, would have served as the country’s first Jewish vice-president.