👋 Good Tuesday morning!
It’s Primary Day in New York and Florida. Here’s what we’ll be watching for tonight when polls close:
At least one decades-long congressional career will soon come to an end in New York’s 12th Congressional District, which saw a bitter primary fight between Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Nadler picked up steam in the final weeks of the campaign, earning backing from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and The New York Times editorial board. Also in the race is attorney Suraj Patel, who is hoping that his argument for generational change will bring about new leadership in the district. Patel, for his part, picked up support from one of the most prominent New Yorkers: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he voted for the former Obama administration staffer.
In the crowded field in New York’s 10th Congressional District, former House impeachment counsel Dan Goldman, also bolstered by a recent New York Times endorsement, has a slight lead in polling over state Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, City Councilmember Carlina Rivera and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY). The race has become the latest flashpoint in the debate among Democrats over their party’s future, with Niou, Jones, Rivera and former Rep. Liz Holtzman (D-NY), who trails far behind, all working to win over progressive voters in deep-blue Brooklyn, despite calls — including from some of the candidates themselves — to consolidate behind one candidate. Niou has stoked controversy among Jewish constituents for her position on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which she told JI in July that she supports, but has since vacillated on the issue.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), who pulled his backing for a bill supporting the Abraham Accords amid tension over Israel policy with far-left activists, faces two more mainstream primary challengers in New York’s 16th District, Westchester County legislators Vedat Gashi and Catherine Parker. J Street has spent $100,000 backing Bowman. Gashi has outraised Parker and boasts endorsements from former Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Nita Lowey (D-NY), but the two run the risk of kneecapping each others’ chances of ousting the incumbent.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who leads House Democrats’ campaign organization, faces a primary challenge from progressive state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in the 17th District. Biaggi had originally planned to run for a Long Island-area seat, but switched to the Hudson Valley district after a new redistricting map was released in the spring.
On Long Island, former Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen is favored to win the Democratic primary in New York’s 4th Congressional District to replace Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), in what’s become a head-to-head race with Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett.
In the special election to replace now-Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th District, it’s the battle of the county executives as Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, a Democrat, faces off against Republican nominee Marc Molinaro, the county executive across the river in Dutchess County. The two are vying to represent a district that will fail to exist at the end of this year following the redrawing of district lines. Ryan and Molinaro are each on the ballot a second time today — though not in the same district. Ryan is running in the primary in the new 18th Congressional District, while Molinaro is running in the redrawn 19th to the north.
In Western New York, in the 23rd District GOP primary, state Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy faces scandal-plagued far-right candidate Carl Paladino, known for a decade’s worth of outlandish and offensive comments, including describing Adolf Hitler as “the kind of leader we need today.” Paladino has been endorsed by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the third-ranking House Republican.
Read on for the Florida races we’re watching.
Florida voters head to the polls
Who will replace Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL)? That is the question in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District — though Deutch, who is leaving Congress to helm the American Jewish Committee, currently represents the 22nd District, new congressional maps drew large parts of his South Florida district into the 23rd. Former Florida Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz is favored to beat Fort Lauderdale Vice Mayor Ben Sorensen and former Florida Anti-Defamation League Director Hava Holzhauer in the blue district.
In Florida’s 10th District, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, who is hoping to become the youngest member of the House, is competing in an open race in a blue district against state Sen. Randolph Bracy, former Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Corrine Brown (D-FL), and a range of other candidates. Grayson’s candidacy has raised concerns among some House Democrats, worried over his colorful electoral history — he has served three House terms, with a two-year gap after the first, and run two failed Senate bids — and reputation as an agitator on Capitol Hill.
In the 27th District, state Sen. Annette Taddeo is among the candidates vying for the chance to challenge Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) in November. If elected, Taddeo says she’d be the first Hispanic Jew in Congress.
Laura Loomer, the far-right conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim provocateur, is making her second congressional bid, this time challenging longtime Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) in the state’s 11th District, after a crushing defeat by Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) in the 2020 general election in a different district. Loomer has outraised Webster and has been hitting him from his right.
Morningstar ESG rating system violates Arizona anti-BDS law, treasurer says
Arizona’s state treasurer notified Morningstar last week that the investment firm’s Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) rating system violates the state’s anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions law, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
On the clock: The move, first revealed in a release obtained by JI on Monday, would place Morningstar on Arizona’s list of prohibited investments unless the firm can explain to the state, within 30 days, how it has not violated the law.
Findings: Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee wrote in a letter to Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor that, based on an outside report by law firm White & Case commissioned by Morningstar, the Treasurer’s Office had determined that Morningstar’s ESG subsidiary, Sustainalytics, “uses anti-Israel and antisemitic sources to negatively impact the scores of companies doing business in Israel and in Israeli-controlled territories.”
Quotable: “Morningstar’s ESG rating subsidiary, Sustainalytics, appears to violate Arizona law by negatively impacting ratings of companies doing business in Israel,” Yee said. “I will not allow companies to promote policies that are antisemitic and discriminatory efforts against Israel, which is America’s longtime friend and ally, and a significant trade partner with Arizona.”
Going deep: “The very fact that Sustainalystics has chosen to review companies doing business in Israel under the guise of its ESG rating system violates Arizona law,” Yee wrote in the letter. To eliminate the legal violation, Yee continued, the investment firm “would need to potentially cease issuing or revise the process for preparing reports and research under the guise of ESG as it relates to companies doing business in Israel.”
Three Jewish Democrats battle for Suozzi’s seat in competitive Long Island House race
In the crowded race to succeed outgoing Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY), three Jewish Democrats are battling it out in a hotly contested five-way primary for a newly drawn Long Island congressional seat that Republicans are eyeing as competitive in November, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel and Marc Rod report. With no independent polling and little to no coverage from national media outlets, the race remains hard to predict as voters head to the polls today, even if experts who spoke with JI generally agree that Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committee member now mounting his first bid for Congress, has the best shot at advancing to the general election.
Lay of the land: Zimmerman, a 67-year-old political commentator and longtime public relations professional, is going up against two fellow Jewish opponents, including a Nassau County legislator, Josh Lafazan, who is also viewed as a viable candidate. Jon Kaiman, a former North Hempstead town supervisor, occupies a wild-card position in the race to represent New York’s recently reconfigured 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Nassau County’s North Shore and a small segment of Queens. Rounding out the field are Reema Rasool, a long-shot local businesswoman, and Melanie D’Arrigo, a progressive activist who has gained support from the left-leaning Working Families Party and Our Revolution. Zimmerman, for his part, is the establishment favorite, with endorsements from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and several members of New York’s congressional delegation, including Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY), among others.
Second Suozzi?: Lafazan, 28, would be among the youngest Democrats in the House if he is elected. He boasts support from Suozzi, who vacated the seat for a failed gubernatorial bid, and a political action committee funded by the cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried that has dropped more than $700,000 into the race. The Long Island legislator has, like Suozzi, been characterized as a moderate. He previously ran on the Conservative Party line, an affiliation Zimmerman has criticized, and registered as a Democrat last year, just before he announced his bid for federal office. Lafazan has pledged to replace Suozzi in the House’s bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.
Israel connection: In an interview with JI, Zimmerman, who would be the first openly gay member of Congress from Long Island, emphasized that his long-standing support for Israel extends, in part, from an appreciation for what he described as its strong record on LGTBQ rights, in stark contrast with countries across the region. “Israel has always been a beacon of progressive values,” Zimmerman added. “Of all the countries in the Middle East, Israel is the only democracy, protects free speech and freedom of religion, and holds free and fair elections,” adding, “Zionism is a point of great personal pride to me.”
Tough general: The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the new district, which leans slightly less Democratic than its previous iteration, as a toss-up in the general election. George Devolder-Santos, the presumptive Republican nominee, has outraised the leading Democrats in the race, with a $2 million war chest buoyed by a $580,000 personal loan. He was sitting on more than $850,000 at the beginning of August. Even amid an unfavorable national political environment for Democrats, the reconstituted Long Island district is one that Jake Dilemani, a Democratic strategist in the New York office of Mercury Public Affairs, expects will remain blue, despite what he characterized as a “marginal” seat. “Whoever the Democratic nominee is needs to treat it as a serious race,” he told JI, “because it is by no means a slam dunk district for anyone.”
Biden administration preparing response to ‘final text’ of Iran deal
The Biden administration is “seriously reviewing” Iran’s response to what European negotiators have called the final text of a draft nuclear deal, and the U.S. is “encouraged” by some of Iran’s positions, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at a press briefing on Monday. Price did not say when the U.S. negotiating team might respond to Iran’s comments, saying only, “We will not take one day longer than is necessary.”
Iran’s ball: Negotiations between the European Union and Iran broke down in March due in part to Iran refusing to drop its demand that the U.S. remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its list of foreign terrorist organizations. “There had been a text on the table that we were prepared to accept this past March, March of 2022. It was Iran that was not in the position to say the same,” Price said Monday.
Progress made: “We are encouraged by the fact that Iran appears to have dropped some of its nonstarter demands, such as lifting the FTO designation of the IRGC,” Price said, although he did not offer other specifics about other such demands. Still, “there are still some outstanding issues that must be resolved, some gaps that must be bridged if we are able to get there,” he added.
Inspections allowed: U.S. officials have also pledged recently that they will not allow Iran to pressure the International Atomic Energy Agency to drop its inspections of the country’s nuclear program. “Iran needs to answer the IAEA’s questions. This is the only way to address these issues once and for all,” Price said. “Our position is not going to change regardless of where we express it – in the text of an understanding of mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA, in public, or elsewhere.”
Terror funding: Price declined to offer specifics when asked whether Iran increased its support of the IRGC and other terrorist proxies in the years the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was in effect. “I think in some ways the more important question is the conduct of these operations,” Price said. “What was the threat that American service members, American diplomats, our partners, were facing on the ground from the IRGC and from other Iranian proxies?” He argued that “there is no question” that the pace of the attacks and the resulting loss of life “was much more unbridled” after the Trump administration pulled out of the deal in 2018.
Israeli opposition: Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata will be in Washington this week to discuss Israel’s concerns about the deal with American officials. In a call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid “made clear to the president that Israel opposes a return to the deal and would not be obligated by such an agreement,” according to a statement from Lapid’s office.
Furman Jewish Student Association receives $1.5 million from Rep. David Trone
Rep. David Trone (D-MD) and his wife, June, have given Furman University, a liberal arts university in South Carolina, $1.5 million to create a Hillel Endowment Fund in support of the school’s Jewish Student Association, which is affiliated with Hillel International, eJewishPhilanthropy’s Lev Gringauz reports. The Hillel gift is part of a larger $10 million donation from the Trone family to the university, with the rest of the money going to support student mental health services. The donation comes nine years after the Trone family gave $3.5 million to the university to renovate and rename its student center.
Student speaks: “I’ve heard they’re going to try to help us out,” Alana Epstein, a rising senior at the university and student president of the JSA, told eJP. “They want to make sure that the current Jewish Students Association student body is helped, but also just to keep it going in the future. That’s all I really have heard so far, but I know they’re going to be telling us a lot more soon.”
All in the mishpacha: Though Trone, an alumnus of the university who sits on its board of trustees, was raised Lutheran, his wife and children are Jewish. “I told him, I want to raise my family Jewish, so if that was something that he wasn’t interested in, we shouldn’t pursue this,” June Trone told Jewish Insider in 2020. “He said that was fine with him, and of course he’s been extremely supportive of my being Jewish, and the kids.” Trone has been a “minyan” donor to AIPAC, which requires a minimum $100,000 annual gift. Total Wine, which he founded in 1991, is reportedly the largest retailer of Israeli wine in the U.S.
👨 Knowing Nides: In a wide-ranging — and humorous — interview with NYU adjunct law professor Max Raskin, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides reflects on his political journey and responsibilities as the top diplomat in a high-profile country. “Here’s the deal. In life, you have to be authentic. I’m respectful. You can be authentic, but you have to control yourself in certain environments, and I’m very respectful with whoever I’m with. But I don’t try to be something I’m not. I’m not a career diplomat who never swears, or never has opinions that are outside the norm. That’s who I am. I want to be real, but respectful. Tonight, I’m going to have dinner with the rabbi of the Western Wall. I’m going to be respectful to him and his beliefs and what he cares about. Then I’m seeing a bunch of members of Congress this afternoon. But you have to be real. I’m not doing this job to be some sort of fake.” [MaxRaskindotcom]
🇨🇦 Oy, Canada!: Politico’s Andy Blatchford looks at the new U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Cohen, his friendship with President Joe Biden and the tensions in U.S.-Canada relations. “Biden’s new ambassador — a ‘rock-star’ Washington, D.C., powerbroker and key Democratic fundraiser — got to work, channeling his energy into resolving an agriculture spat over potato warts that had put a freeze on U.S. spud imports. But Cohen, who arrived in Ottawa on Dec. 1, has a lot more on his plate than potatoes: The two countries are in the midst of serious conversations — if not outright disputes — over lumber, dairy, oil pipelines, China, defense spending, critical minerals, digital taxes, gun smuggling and climate change. As Biden’s envoy, he’s the designated point person in repairing a damaged friendship.” [Politico]
Around the Web
💰 Big Money: Chicago manufacturing entrepreneur Barre Seid is behind the $1.6 billion gift to the newly formed Marble Freedom Trust, a political group run by conservative activist Leonard Leo.
🗣️ A Real Reach: Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) said on a radio program last week that the federal government “is acting more like a Third Reich than they are the United States.”
🍦That’s Cold: Ben & Jerry’s lost its latest bid to keep Unilever, its parent company, from selling its Israeli operations to the ice cream company’s longtime manufacturer in the region, after a judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the conglomerate.
🚓 On the Case: The NYPD is investigating two weekend incidents in Brooklyn in which Jewish men were reportedly sprayed with fire extinguishers, and one of them physically assaulted, by a group of unknown assailants.
📝 CIA Report: A classified CIA report leaked to The Guardian said the spy agency found no evidence to back up Israel’s labeling of six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations.
✈️ Friendlier Skies: Israel’s Ramon Airport near Eilat, is opening itself to Palestinian travelers for the first time as part of a series of peacemaking gestures.
☢️ Standing Firm: Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid maintained opposition to a new nuclear deal with Iran during a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, asserting that Israel would not be bound by any agreements made by negotiators in Vienna.
💥 Bad Beat: A bag containing an explosive device was found in a park during the end of Sweden’s annual Stockholm Culture Festival on Sunday, where Iranian dissident performer Ebrahim “Ebi” Hamedi was performing.
Transition: Joshua Cohen, who previously headed the Jewish Federations of New Jersey, will join the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as director of policy initiatives.
Song of the Day
YouTube sensation Meir Kay releases his latest song, “Back On My Feet.”
First Iranian-American member of the New York State Senate, Anna Kaplan turns 57…
Professor emeritus at MIT and 1987 Nobel Prize laureate in economics, Robert Solow turns 98… Owner of many car dealerships, art collector and former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Norman Braman turns 90… Owner of Paper Capers, a custom invitation and gift store located in Livingston, N.J., Leslie Haupt Mayesh… Former MLB player from 1969 to 1978, he was the first designated hitter in MLB history and later the manager of the Bet Shemesh Blue Sox in the Israel Baseball League, Ron Blomberg turns 74… History professor at Hebrew University specializing in pre-modern Islamic civilization, Reuven Amitai-Preiss turns 67… Retired general counsel of Eastern Savings Bank in Hunt Valley, Md., Richard Zeskind… Former member of Knesset for 23 years representing the Labor party and Zionist Union party, Eitan Cabel turns 63… Owner of A&A Wholesale, Bracha (Benita Amedeo) Radin… CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, Marc Swatez… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2019 (D-WA), she served as a physician prior to entering politics, Kimberly Merle Schrier turns 54… Founder and CEO of Wonga, a British financial technology company, Errol Damelin turns 53… ESPN’s and ABC’s sportswriter, reporter and author, Jeremy Schaap turns 53… Founder and director of the Jewish Family Enrichment Project, Rabbi Josh Kohl… Former NBA head coach for the Pistons and Nets, now President of basketball operations for the LA Clippers, Lawrence Frank turns 52… National reporter for ProPublica, Craig Silverman turns 45… Israeli model, born in Haifa, Mor Katzir turns 42… Senior manager in the hospital and healthcare practice of Accenture, Avigail Goldgraber… Senior advisor for policy and speechwriter during the Trump administration, Stephen Miller turns 37… Actor best known for his role as Alex in the television series “Timeblazers,” Stephen Joffe turns 31…