Bob Turner and Hakeem Jeffries: On The Hunt for Orthodox Votes

Bob Turner (Photo: Getty)

The Wednesday edition of the Orthodox newspaper Hamodia is the most circulated, and two federal candidates of opposing political persuasion took advantage of that fact today to make their pitches for why Jewish voters should prefer them.

Republican Senate hopeful Congressman Bob Turner even made the front page. Featured was his appearance at  a fundraiser in Midwood, a heavily Orthodox Jewish neighborhood that helped carry him to an upset win in a special election last year. However, his quoted messaging was largely broad criticisms of the Democratic incumbent, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, without a local angle on her flaws.

Conversely, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, campaigning for congress against Charles Barron, very specifically waded into foreign affairs and Israeli security in the Middle East.

“As an attorney, it is clear to me that you cannot negotiate with someone who doesn’t believe you should exist,” he told the publication. “That is just a simple fundamental issue that must be resolved in order for meaningful discussions to take place.”

Mr. Jeffries job, naturally, is made even easier by Mr. Barron’s oftentimes bombastic quotes on foreign policy and elsewhere, of which Hamodia ticked off many:

“Mr. Barron has questioned the extent of the Holocaust, wished publicly that Israel be wiped off the map, accused President Barack Obama of ‘assassinating’ Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi, and said that Jews ‘always walked these streets [in Crown heights] as if they owned them’ and called Gaza a ‘concentration camp.'”

Although the newspaper has a good circulation, its impact in both of their races could be mitigated by forces outside of the candidates’ control. Many Orthodox voters, while conservative ideologically, remain registered Democrats and will be unable to vote for Mr. Turner on June 26th, and, due to redistricting, Mr. Jeffries saw Hasidic Williamsburg be cut out of the district he seeks to represent.

Bob Turner and Hakeem Jeffries: On The Hunt for Orthodox Votes