👋 Good Tuesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we report from Dr. Mehmet Oz’s final rally as the Senate candidate makes his closing pitch to Pennsylvania voters, and bring you the latest from Sharm el-Sheikh, where Israeli President Isaac Herzog represented Israel at COP27.
It’s Election Day across the U.S. Among the questions that will begin to get answered when the first polls close at 6 p.m. ET: Will the GOP make the predicted gains in the House of Representatives, potentially ending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership? How will moderates on both sides of the aisle fare in a midterm cycle that has seen candidates on the fringes of each party beat out mainstream primary opponents? And who will come out ahead in the Senate, where Democrats hold the thinnest of margins?
JI’s Marc Rod and Gabby Deutch are on the ground today in Virginia and Pennsylvania, respectively, talking to voters and trailing the candidates in the final hours before polls close. Follow them at @marcrod97 and @gsdeutch. They’ll be bringing us live coverage throughout the day.
With control of the Senate up for grabs, our team has spent the last year talking to the candidates — from venture capitalists Blake Masters and J.D. Vance in Arizona and Ohio, to Lt. Govs. John Fetterman and Mandela Barnes in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, to Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), who is locked in a tight race to keep the seat he won in a 2021 special election — looking to convince voters to send them to Washington. In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt has made gains on Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), despite revelations — first reported by Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel — that his campaign had employed a political activist with a history of attacking Jews and women online.
While Democratic primaries in Manhattan and Brooklyn — and New York’s controversial redistricting — attracted national attention during the summer months, attention has shifted to general election battles in other areas of the state, including in the Hudson Valley, where DCCC chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) is hoping to hold onto his seat, and Staten Island, where former Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) is fighting an uphill battle to win the seat back from Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) in a district that was originally drawn to favor Democrats but was redrawn to Rose’s disadvantage after a court battle. On Long Island, Robert Zimmerman is up against George Santos in the race to succeed outgoing Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY).
Elsewhere in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) spent the final days of the campaign reaching out to Jewish communities in New York City and the upstate Hasidic enclaves. Both candidates boast support from key Jewish constituencies — Hochul received the backing of the Satmar community in Rockland County, while Zeldin picked up the endorsement of the Bobov Hasidic sect in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn as well as from Brooklyn’s Satmar community.
While some races in Michigan were settled over the summer — namely the member-on-member primary in the state’s 11th Congressional District that saw Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) defeat Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s victory in the neighboring 12th District — others, including Rep. Elissa’s Slotkin’s (D-MI) bid to keep her Lansing-area seat amid a challenge from Army veteran Tom Barrett, will be among the most-watched in the country.
Slotkin is one of a number of Democrats elected in 2018 who are fighting a last-minute GOP surge in momentum that observers predict is likely to flip control of the House. In Virginia, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) is facing a serious challenge from state Sen. Jen Kiggans, who, like Luria, boasts a military background in the Norfolk district, while Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), who was endorsed by outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) this week, is facing a similar battle to keep her seat from Yesli Vega, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.
We’re also keeping an eye on Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is leading in the polls against Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), but congressional races around the state appear closer. In Miami, state Sen. Annette Taddeo, who is hoping to make history as the first Hispanic Jewish member of Congress and notched an endorsement from Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava last week, is challenging freshman Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL). On the state’s west coast, former Department of Defense official Eric Lynn and Anna Paulina Luna, who is backed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) are running neck-and-neck in the most recent polling. In South Florida, Jared Moskowitz is expected to sail to victory in the race to succeed former Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), who left Congress to helm the American Jewish Committee. In Orlando, Maxwell Frost is hoping to make history as the first Gen Z Democrat in Congress as he seeks the seat being vacated by Demings.
land of oz
Oz urges ‘balance’ over ‘extreme’ at final Pa. Senate rally
At his final campaign event on the eve of Election Day, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, pitched himself as a common-sense candidate and urged his supporters to reach across the aisle to encourage friends and family members to vote, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports. “I want you to go out and talk to conservative Democrats and independents,” Oz told the crowd of roughly 1,500 supporters at a historic farm at the far edge of Montgomery County, about 45 minutes from Philadelphia. Ask their friends, he said, if they’re happy with the status quo: “Your friends are gonna say, ‘No, I’m worried about our country.’ I love it dearly,” said Oz.
Left out: The crowd was packed with red Make America Great Again hats, but Oz did not mention former President Donald Trump, whose endorsement he received. Nor did Oz — or any of the speakers at the event — mention Doug Mastriano, the state’s controversial Republican gubernatorial candidate. All three men appeared together on Saturday at a campaign rally in a much redder part of the state.
On a tightrope: It was an example of the tightrope Oz and other Republicans walk in areas where swing voters, who may be skeptical of Trump but also critical of Democratic leadership at a time of rising inflation, could decide the election. The argument made at the event was an old-school pitch, one that’s familiar from past midterm elections, when an unpopular president comes before the voters at a time of economic hardship.
Anti-extremism: “I’ll bring balance to Washington, and John Fetterman? He’ll bring more extreme,” Oz said of his Democratic opponent. Democrats are attempting to make a similar point about Republican candidates — that candidates who belong to Trump’s party and have raised doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 election are too extreme to serve in Washington.
2024 watch: Oz was introduced by Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Haley, widely considered a potential 2024 presidential candidate, touched on several Republican hot-button issues: crime in major cities like Philadelphia, drug trafficking and illegal immigration, inflation, transgender athletes and the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools. (Someone shouted “Run for president!” during her speech, earning scattered applause.)
Elsewhere in the land of Oz: Shterny Glick, the daughter of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, is reportedly suing Oz for breach of contract, alleging that his campaign continued soliciting donations from names she provided after firing her as a consultant.
Herzog inaugurates first-ever Israeli pavilion at U.N. climate change summit in Egypt
With the message that Israeli technology can provide solutions to tackling the climate crisis in the Middle East and beyond, Israeli President Isaac Herzog inaugurated the Jewish state’s first-ever pavilion at the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, Jewish Insider‘s Ruth Marks Eglash reports from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh. Showcasing Israeli technology that deals with the fields of water scarcity, renewable energy, agricultural and desertification solutions, alternative proteins and more, a delegation of more than 700 people – from seven different Israeli government ministries, a dozen commercial companies and startups, as well as a variety of experts in the field of climate change – worked together to create the pavilion. It is the first time in 40 years that Israel has such a presence at an international event in Egypt.
‘Renewable Middle East’: Dedicating the booth, Herzog, who was warmly welcomed to Egypt by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, told members of the Israeli delegation that every crisis also provided opportunities and that Israel can leverage its position as a leader in environmental technology fields in order to build relations with other nations. The president expanded on this concept during his address at the opening of the conference, coining the term “Renewable Middle East” and sharing with world leaders his vision for a world where countries in the region work together to develop solutions that “will be available for export to Europe, Asia and Africa.”
Practical cooperation: Ambassador Amir Weissbrod, head of the Bureau for International Organizations in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Israel’s presence at COP27 would not only showcase solutions to the global crisis but could also build practical cooperation with other countries. He highlighted that on Tuesday, Israel’s outgoing minister of regional cooperation, Isawi Frej, will sign a crucial memorandum of understanding with representatives of the UAE and Jordan laying the groundwork for creating solar energy fields in Jordan. The MOU furthers a 2021 landmark declaration between the countries to build renewable electricity and water desalination options.
🛢️ Saudi Strategy:The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung looks at the White House’s response to Riyadh’s decision to cut oil production. “But the White House, as it considers how to make good on Biden’s ‘consequences’ pledge and despite its ongoing anger, has become uneasy over the reaction its sharp response has provoked at home. Rather than moving quickly to respond, it is playing for time, looking for ways to bring the Saudis back in line while preserving strong bilateral security ties. ‘Are we rupturing the relationship? No,’ said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity about what has become a sensitive political and diplomatic situation. ‘We had a fundamental disagreement on the state of the oil market and the global economy, and we are reviewing what transpired.’” [WashPost]
🏀 A Sorry Apology: For NBC News, Luz Alptraum looks at how basketball star Kyrie Irving’s apology to the Jewish community for sharing an antisemitic video fits into a broader playbook of celebrity apologies. “It’s so frustrating that he has been allowed to remain largely unchecked up until this point, even as he’s spread increasingly disturbing conspiracy theories over the years. Watching his trajectory, it’s not hard to see how he wound up espousing (or at least appearing to endorse) antisemitic beliefs. If the NBA is truly invested in curbing antisemitism and promoting respect for all people, then why did it take this long to address Irving’s slide into harmful conspiracies? Why was there no serious attempt at intervention before he finally managed to trigger the ritual of suspension and perfunctory apology?” [NBCNews]
🗳️ K Street Clout: In Politico, Hailey Fuchs examines how today’s elections could make lobbyist Jeff Miller, an ally of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a powerful force on K Street. “’Jeff has always had Kevin’s ear,’ said John Stipicevic, McCarthy’s former deputy chief of staff whom other Republican lobbyists described as the second closest McCarthy insider on K Street. ‘They grew up together in the world of politics in D.C.’…And as Republicans look likely to recapture one if not two chambers of Congress, the lawmaker that Miller has helped propel to power soon may be his golden ticket. ‘I don’t think … [McCarthy] would be as successful of a fundraiser as he is without Jeff’s help,’ said Geduldig, adding that he thought even the GOP leader ‘would acknowledge that.'” [Politico]
🧮 Margin of Error: In The Times of Israel, political and strategic communications consultants Simon Davies and Joshua Hantman crunch the data from the results of the Israeli election to explain how the deadlock between the two competing blocs was broken and what it means for polling in the future. “Throughout the four-month campaign, the polling was neck and neck, with both the Netanyahu and anti-Netanyahu blocs hovering around the 60-seat mark. In our final pre-election column, we noted that two things could change this and create a markedly different result: differential turnout and the threshold. That is exactly how it played out. Simply put, differential turnout secured the victory for Netanyahu’s bloc, and the threshold ensured the relatively wide margin.” [TOI]
Around the Web
☎️ Buzzing Bibi: President Joe Biden called Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate the former prime minister on his election victory last week.
👨⚖️ Case Dismissed: A U.S. district court judge in Massachusetts dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy against digital news outlet Insider.
🐦 Musky Meme: Twitter owner Elon Musk made waves when he tweeted a meme featuring a Nazi soldier and also called on Americans to vote for Republican candidates.
✡️ We’ve Got the Rabbi: The 92NY in Manhattan is hiring Rabbi David Ingber as the institution’s senior director of Jewish life, in an attempt, CEO Seth Lipsky said, to “more publicly assert our Jewish identity.”
🎻 Tevye’s Back: National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene announced additional casting for its seven-week return of “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish,” which opens on Nov. 13.
❌ Across the Pond: U.K. media watchdog Ofcom found that the BBC committed “significant editorial failings” in its 2021 coverage of an antisemitic attack against Jewish students in London.
🕵️♂️ Hit Squad: Counter-terrorism officials in the U.K. identified an Iranian “hit squad” that reportedly targeted two London-based journalists working for a Farsi-language media outlet.
🇮🇱🇺🇦 Strengthening Ties: After speaking with Israeli election winner Benjamin Netanyahu, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he hoped the two countries could forge stronger security ties as they face “related” threats.
🏥 Terror Victim: A 55-year-old Israeli man died two weeks after he was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank.
🚌 Wheels on the Bus: Israel launched a two-year pilot program in which four companies will operate self-driving public buses in an effort to ease road congestion.
👨 ‘I’ve Moderated’: Itamar Ben-Gvir, a leader of the far-right Religious Zionism party, sought to assuage fears of extremism, telling Israel Hayom that he has “moderated.”
🛰️ Drone Fears: A prominent Iranian cleric and the editor of the news outlet Jomhouri-e-Islamiare voicing concerns over Tehran’s supplying of drones to Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
🛫 Riyadh Bound: Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia next month, amid deepening ties between Riyadh and Beijing.
🕊️ Historic Visit: U.K. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is attending the Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace, in what’s believed to be the first visit by a U.K. chief rabbi to an Arab state.
Pic of the Day
More than 150 Jewish high school students from across the United States get an inside look into practice for the Auburn University men’s basketball team, in a trip over the weekend organized by Athletes for Israel and NCSY.
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