👋 Good Tuesday morning!
It’s primary day in Ohio and Indiana. After a series of court challenges that threatened to push back Ohio’s congressional primaries — and did push its municipal elections to late summer — Ohioans are set to head to the polls today to cast their ballots in a number of high-profile races.
Top of everyone’s mind: Who will emerge victorious in the Republican Senate primary? Former State Treasurer Josh Mandel had led the crowded field for most of the primary season, but an endorsement from former President Donald Trump helped J.D. Vance — who struggled to gain momentum since he entered the race last summer — surge to the front of the pack. As Mandel has seen his star dim, state Sen. Matt Dolan has also enjoyed an 11th-hour push.
In Ohio’s 11th Congressional District Democratic primary, Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) and former state Sen. Nina Turner are locked in a heated rematch for the redrawn Cleveland-area district, which includes pockets of voters more favorable to Turner, who led polls leading up to last August’s special election primary but ultimately lost to Brown, a former county councilwoman.
Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke yesterday in Boca Raton, Fla., to launch a Republican National Committee Jewish community outreach center, the RNC’s first such site. It has launched more than 20 similar sites focused on building support in other minority communities across the country, hosting Get Out the Vote efforts and local events.
In his remarks, Pence praised former President Donald Trump — with whom he has fallen out — as the most pro-Israel president in U.S. history and highlighted the Abraham Accords and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
At Milken conference, puppies and panel discussions draw crowds
During the first full day of the Milken Institute’s Global Conference on Monday, executives, investors and entrepreneurs gathered in Los Angeles to discuss key global challenges, reports Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch. Inflation, the risk of recession, philanthropy, artificial intelligence, Alzheimer’s disease, inequality in education: All of it and more came up in panel discussions with influential speakers such as longtime Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser.
Big questions: What makes Milken so interesting, Sinai Temple’s Rabbi David Wolpe told JI, is that it’s “driven, obviously, by finance and tech and so on, but they don’t neglect the human questions.” He will address those questions on Wednesday on a panel with author and Harvard professor Arthur Brooks titled “Building a Better Life.”
Be seen: Finding a table at the Beverly Hilton’s lobby bar or its poolside café was near impossible on Monday. In the afternoon, attendees flocked to the Wellness Garden — an outdoor spot that offered aromatherapy, massages and sound baths — to play with puppies that were up for adoption at a local shelter.
Buzz buzz: Dozens of panel discussions took place throughout the day, but the hallways of the hotel were buzzing with activity throughout all of it. People came to make deals, or to scout out their next philanthropic venture or simply to mingle. “It is so good to be back in person,” said Alec Ellison, a frequent Milken attendee who is the chairman of the global investing platform OurCrowd. “I’m just running into people I haven’t seen since pre-COVID from all walks.” The Milken Institute, which has a significant focus on public health and also hosts an annual health summit, required attendees to be vaccinated and boosted.
Problem solvers: What makes Milken unique from similar conferences, said Richard Sandler, executive vice president of the Milken Family Foundation and a leader in the L.A. Jewish community, is its focus on finding solutions. “To see the people that come from all over the world is really gratifying,” said Sandler, who has been involved with the foundation since it was started 40 years ago. The people who come to the conference “really are trying to solve problems,” he said.
Politically homeless: In a conversation with NBC News political director Chuck Todd, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, spoke at length about his concerns with partisanship in the American political system. “I’m trying to provide a home for all the homeless people that don’t know whether they should be in the Democratic Party or in the Republican Party,” Hogan said, earning applause from the Milken crowd.
race to watch
What to watch in Indiana’s primaries
Alongside the high-profile Senate and House primary battles in Ohio on Tuesday, Indiana holds its primaries today, including a set of competitive races that have largely flown under the national political radar, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Race watch: The bulk of the action is expected to come from Indiana’s solidly Republican 9th Congressional District, the only open seat in this cycle, following the retirement of Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN). Nine candidates are vying to replace Hollingsworth, but the top contenders are former Rep. Mike Sodrel (R-IN), state Sen. Erin Houchin and Army veteran and businessman Stu Barnes-Israel.
In the weeds: Local observers said no clear frontrunner has emerged among the three, and there has been no public polling. “There’s not an awful lot of difference among them” ideologically, Marjorie Hershey, an author and professor of political science at Indiana University Bloomington, told JI. “[The race] seems to be very typical of Republican races around the country right now in that the candidates are stapling themselves to [former President] Donald Trump and talking about… wedge issues that have to do with sexuality and race,” Hershey continued.
Big backers: Each of the candidates has picked up some prominent endorsements. Barnes-Israel has been endorsed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Sodrel is backed by former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Houchin is being supported by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s (R-NY) super PAC, Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita.
Sidelines: Attention has also turned to the state’s 1st District, which Republicans hope is an opportunity to flip a seat held by Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-IN). In that primary, Blair Milo, a former mayor, military veteran and Indiana’s secretary for career connections and talent, is facing Jennifer-Ruth Green, an educator and military veteran. According to Downs, Green has tied herself closely to Trump and highlighted GOP social issues, whereas Milo is viewed as more moderate, has been more focused on the economy and workforce development issues and expressed skepticism of Trump during the 2016 election.
eye on ohio
Inside Nina Turner’s last-ditch efforts to salvage the Jewish vote
Even as Jewish voters overwhelmingly coalesced around Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) during her first congressional bid just under a year ago, Nina Turner, the well-known progressive champion, is actively engaged in an effort to peel away at least a portion of that support as she seeks to defeat Brown in a primary rematch on Tuesday, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports from Ohio.
Scaling up: In recent weeks, Turner has met with rabbis, attended synagogue services, held town halls and directly targeted Jewish voters through phone banking and canvassing initiatives in Ohio’s newly drawn 11th Congressional District, which includes all of Cleveland and some surrounding suburbs. The former Ohio state senator has also hired a dedicated Jewish outreach director, Sam Klein, an 18-year-old rising sophomore at The Ohio State University who describes himself as a “sixth-generation congregant” of a synagogue that sits in the district.
Show don’t tell: “We are very proud of our outreach to the Jewish community,” Angelo Greco, a spokesperson, said. “Both Nina Turner and her campaign staff and volunteers have had wonderful interactions and found tremendous support. We are, of course, aware that groups from outside the district are flooding voters with dishonest misinformation and have been for a year. What we are hearing at the doors is that voters are rejecting those tactics this time.” Despite those claims, Greco did not provide any hard evidence to suggest that Turner, 54, has gained meaningful traction, particularly within Cleveland’s heavily Jewish eastern suburbs — including Shaker Heights and Beachwood — that saw some of the highest turnout in the race. Brown, 46, had outperformed Turner in those neighborhoods, where she built close connections with Jewish community members that seem largely intact as she seeks her first full term in the House.
Community skepticism: Pro-Israel advocates, however, have cast suspicion on the sincerity if not the efficacy of her outreach. “I think she felt the political heat from her anti-Israel positions and she’s trying to obfuscate,” Mark Mellman, the president of DMFI PAC — which has spent more than $1 million in the primary — alleged in a recent interview with JI. AIPAC, for its part, said last week that Turner was engaging in “pro-Israel virtue signaling.”
Abraham Accords show Iran what it’s missing, says Meijer
Throughout the first full day of the Milken conference, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch pulled aside leaders and notable figures who were speaking at the conference. On Monday, those conversations veered toward the political.
Opaque negotiations: JI caught up with Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), who — like most Republicans — expressed concern about U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran. Meijer warned against “doing anything that could be perceived as rewarding” Iran and called the ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran “opaque.” Enforcing existing U.S. sanctions on Iran, said Meijer, is the only way for the U.S. to keep the Islamic Republic at bay.
Regional alliances: The freshman member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee told JI that bolstering ties between Israel and its new Gulf allies can help on Iran, not as a defense alliance but as a lesson in what the benefits of making peace are. He suggested that the U.S. encourage ties between Israel and the Sunni states in the Gulf Cooperation Council who also view Iran as a threat. “The more we can continue to build on that, and not just have it be a question of maximum pressure, where if you are like Iran, you will be punished, but then also say, but if you are not, look at the wonderful things you can unlock for your own country in terms of prosperity. So making that gap even wider to both have the carrot and the stick in equal proportion.”
Read the full interview here.
🖼️ Art Attack: The New York Times’ Marc Tracy and Robin Pogrebin look at the controversy over a postponed exhibition of the work of Jewish artist Philip Guston, which included painted images of Ku Klux Klan members. “The paintings of the hooded figures are included, along with more historical context; an ‘Emotional Preparedness’ pamphlet from a trauma specialist urging visitors to ‘identify your boundaries and take care of yourself’; and a detour allowing visitors to bypass the Klan-themed works. The opening has reignited a fierce debate about whether the delay was a troubling indication that museums are shying away from challenging, provocative work in an age of heightened sensitivities, or a healthy sign that they are belatedly confronting the need for change after long failing to diversify their staffs, programming and audiences… Guston, a child of Jewish immigrants who had fled pogroms, had been exposed to Klan violence as a young man in Los Angeles.” [NYTimes]
🪓 Object Lesson: In The Washington Post, David Perry explores the history of a desk passed down through generations of his family, built by Polish Jews looking to hone their skills after WWI, many of whom would eventually perish in the Holocaust. “Objects carry their past with them as they move. We can’t, and shouldn’t try, to shed their weight. Surely the students and teachers in Poland never dreamed that this desk would rest in a Minnesota house, its itinerary strange and unlikely, but it’s here. To use it to manage my family finances or even write essays and books is not, in the big scheme of things, important. But to let it sit forgotten would be shameful. The act of remembering, then telling new stories without erasing those memories, is very much what it means to me to be Jewish. It’s what it means to me to be human. Facing death and destruction, we can bind the long stories of struggle to the small stories of our individual lives, loves and losses.” [WashPost]
Around the Web
🗣️ Heard on the Hill: Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent comments about antisemitism, in which Lavrov suggested that Adolf Hitler was Jewish, “just sickening.”
📗 Book Beat: Jared Kushner’s upcoming memoir, Breaking History: A White House Memoir, scheduled for publication on Aug. 9, will cover the 2016 campaign and his tenure in the Trump administration.
💵 Never Forget: David Rubenstein, the co-founder and co-chair of the Carlyle Group, donated $15 million to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which celebrated its National Tribute Dinner last night in Washington.
📚 Book Shelf: Check out the books on JI’s must-read list this month.
🎬 Coming Soon: Filming for the new Apple+ series “Lady in the Lake,” starring Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o, is filming in Pikesville, Md.
📺 Deadly Campaign: A new Hamas media campaign is encouraging Palestinians to carry out attacks against Jews, amid weeks of heightened tensions around the holidays.
🙅♂️ Not Buying It: The foreign minister of the Netherlands said that the country “does not agree” with the recent Amnesty International report accusing Israel of apartheid.
🎆 Sound Barrier: A number of Yom Haatzmaut fireworks displays across Israel have been canceled this year over concerns that the loud noise will negatively affect veterans suffering from PTSD.
📱 Spying Game: Israel accused Iran of using social media to attempt to recruit Israelis to surveil and attack other Israelis.
🖥️ Cyber Defense: Israel is implementing new rules for communications firms to beef up their efforts amid a rise in cyber attacks.
💼 Transitions: Debra Shushan was named J Street’s director of policy, and Hannah Morris was named the group’s director of government affairs.
💍 Mazal Tov: Cole Emhoff, the son of Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, proposed to longtime girlfriend Greenley Littlejohn.
🕯️ Remembering: Disgraced New Jersey politician David Friedland, who faked his own death to avoid prison time and lived on the run for two years, died at 84.
Pic of the Day
Israeli soldiers pay their respects yesterday at the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem ahead of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day.
Educated at the Hebrew Academy of San Francisco, he was a defensive lineman in the NFL from 2004 until 2011, Igor Olshansky turns 40…
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