👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we look at the results of yesterday’s midterm elections. Below, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch, Marc Rod and Matthew Kassel report from election night parties in Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York.
The “red tsunami” predicted by pundits and pollsters fell short of the tidal takeover that Republicans had hoped for as returns began to come in last night. (Or, as Ben Shapiro put it, “From red wave to red wedding,” a reference to the bloodiest episode of “Game of Thrones.”) With a number of races yet to be called, Democrats managed to fend off the depth of the defeats typically handed to the president’s party during the midterms, such as in 2010, when several dozen Republican Tea Party candidates won office, and 2018, when the “blue wave” ushered into Congress a range of Democrats, from Elaine Luria in Virginia to Dean Phillips in Minnesota.
Luria was one of a number of sophomore Democrats who struggled this election cycle. While her race was called for her opponent, Republican Jen Kiggans, by the Associated Press before midnight (more on that from JI’s Marc Rod below), races involving other sophomore Democrats, including Reps. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), David Trone (D-MD) and Katie Porter (D-CA), remain too close to call. Bucking the trend were Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), considered three of the most endangered of the 2018 crop, who both fended off Republican challengers in races that were considered bellwethers for Democrats nationwide.
Control of the Senate may not be decided for at least another month, the second time in two years such a situation has occurred, owing to a Georgia law that requires winners to receive a majority, not a plurality, of the vote. But the race between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Herschel Walker is not the only one yet to be called. As of press time, the outcomes of Senate races in Arizona, where Blake Masters is facing off against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ); Nevada, where Adam Laxalt is challenging Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV); and Wisconsin, where Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is leading Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes by just over 1 point, have not yet been determined. Democrats fared well in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated Dr. Mehmet Oz, and New Hampshire, where Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) held onto her seat amid a challenge from Don Bolduc. Republicans scored victories in North Carolina, with Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) winning the open seat in the Tarheel State, and Utah, where Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) won a third term over Evan McMullin. The GOP also scored a big victory in Ohio, where J.D. Vance outperformed Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) by 200,000 votes. In Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) held onto his seat, but another Coloradan — Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), could potentially lose hers, with former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch leading with 51%.
A new political map has taken shape in New York, where a number of races remain too close to call — among them the contest in the state’s 17th Congressional District, where DCCC Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), whose efforts to drum up support in recent weeks extended to outreach to the district’s Hasidic communities, is trailing state Assemblymember Mike Lawler by 3,000 votes.
While every New York City House member — all but one of them Democrats — seeking reelection won his or her race, Long Island is morphing from blue-ish purple to red. Shortly after midnight, the AP had called three of the four races on the island for Republicans: George Santos, a Jewish-Angolan first-generation American who will make history as Long Island’s first openly gay representative; Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), who coasted to victory over Jackie Gordon; and Nick LaLota, who handily won the race to succeed Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who forewent another congressional run to make a bid for Albany’s top job. The only Long Island race that has yet to be called is the state’s 4th Congressional District, where Republican Anthony D’Esposito leads Democrat Laura Gillen by roughly 10,000 votes.
Not too close to call: New York’s gubernatorial election, which was called for Gov. Kathy Hochul around 2 a.m. The final weeks of the campaign saw extensive outreach to the state’s Jewish community by both Hochul and Zeldin. One exit poll reported that Hochul received 59% of the state’s Jewish vote. More below on the scene at Zeldin’s election night party at Cipriani in Manhattan.
Just south of New York,Rob Menendez Jr., son of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) won his congressional race, becoming the first father-son duo in Congress in nearly a decade.
One winner is undisputed: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who boasted a nearly 20-point lead over Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) — including an 11-point lead in Miami-Dade County, which he lost by nearly 20 points in 2018 — and boosted down-ballot Republicans across the Sunshine State. As one reader texted us incredulously late last night, “Am I seeing that Miami-Dade is red?” DeSantis’ decisive victory boosts his positioning as a potential presidential candidate in 2024 or 2028 — and earlier this week set off alarms at Mar-a-Lago, with former President Donald Trump hinting that he has information on the governor “that won’t be very flattering,” adding, “I know more about him than anybody – other than, perhaps, his wife.”
Elsewhere in Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) coasted to reelection, besting Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) by more than 1 million votes. Freshman Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) held onto her Miami-area seat amid a challenge from state Sen. Annette Taddeo, while Crist’s seat flipped from blue to red following Anna Paulina Luna‘s decisive 8-point win against Democrat Eric Lynn. Florida Democrats scored an expected win with Maxwell Frost’s 20-point victory in Orlando, which will make him the first Gen Z-er in Congress.
Last night’s results — and the ones we’re still waiting on — will determine the answers to a number of outstanding questions: chief among them who will be the speaker of the House of Representatives. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), said that the recent attack on her husband by a home intruder looking for the California Democrat would impact her decision to remain in House leadership. Regardless of the results of the outstanding elections, one thing is clear: The next House speaker — be it Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) or someone else (one rumor is that Minority Whip Steve Scalise [R-LA] will challenge McCarthy for the role if Republicans significantly underperform) will face a tough challenge in legislating with a razor-thin majority.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) is one Republican who expressed optimism over the possibility of the GOP having the slightest edge in the House. “I would love for the Massie caucus to be relevant. If there’s a one-seat majority, my caucus has one person. It’s me. So I can decide whether a bill passes or not,” he told reporters, citing by way of example the power that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the Senate’s most moderate Democrats, wields on key issues pushed by Democrats. Massie, whose 2020 primary challenger was endorsed by the Republican Jewish Coalition, has stood alone several times in voting against legislation supported by the Jewish community.
shapiro in the spotlight
Shapiro, citing Pirkei Avot, sails to victory in PA
As anxious Democrats around the country waited for election results to come in on Tuesday night, a jubilant crowd of more than a thousand was in a celebratory mood from the moment they walked into Josh Shapiro’s election night party at a convention center on the far edges of the Philadelphia exurbs, Jewish Insider’s Gabby Deutch reports. While vulnerable Democrats elsewhere in the state struggled in close races that remain undecided, Shapiro was declared the victor by the Associated Press shortly after midnight, leading Doug Mastriano by more than 500,000 votes.
Keeping the faith: “I spoke a lot about my faith in this campaign. My family and my faith call me to service and they drive me home,” Shapiro told a cheering crowd in a triumphant victory address. “You’ve heard me read Scripture before, that no one is required to complete the task, but neither are we free to refrain from it, meaning each of us has a responsibility to get off the sidelines, to get in the game and to do our part. And so I say to you tonight, that while we won this race — and by the way, won it pretty convincingly … the job is not done. The task is not complete.”
Festive feeling: Guests mingled throughout the night alongside a hearty spread of food, including charcuterie, cheese, fruit and vegetables, and a table containing heaps of leftover Halloween candy. Supporters of the governor-elect partied to a bass-pumping blend of early 2010s pop and classic rock. A coach bus decked out in Shapiro branding, a relic of a campaign bus tour across the state, sat at one end of the hall. People wrote messages to Shapiro and signed their names in Sharpie. A massive screen showed results coming in from around the nation on CNN, and guests burst into applause when the network called the race for Shapiro.
‘Better angels’: In conversations with JI, Jewish Democrats at the party noted Shapiro’s strength as a candidate — and the weaknesses of his opponent, a far-right state legislator who has advanced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. “I think that Shapiro is going to win resoundingly, because I still believe in the better angels of humanity, and I think Mastriano panders to the lowest and the worst,” Rabbi Greg Marx, senior rabbi at the Reform Congregation Beth Or in Glen Maple, told JI early in the night.
Across the aisle: “I think it’s widely accepted, on both sides of the aisle, that Josh will be an effective governor,” said Brett Goldman, a co-founder of Democratic Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania and a lobbyist for the cannabis industry. “He’s built a lot of relationships with Republican legislators, and they respect him as a colleague.” State Rep. Jared Solomon, a Democrat who represents northeast Philadelphia, added that Shapiro prioritized outreach to people who are not straight-ticket Democratic voters. “Democrats are up against some really strong headwinds,” said Solomon, who added that reaching across the aisle is part of Shapiro’s “brand.”
On the other side of the state: State Rep. Summer Lee, who defeated Steve Irwin in a Democratic primary that garnered national attention earlier this year, holds an 11-point lead over Republican Mike Doyle in the Pittsburgh-area district, with the race yet to be called.
Elaine Luria’s curtain call
From the start of an unexpectedly frigid and breezy Election Day in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, volunteers supporting incumbent Rep. Elanie Luria (D-VA) — who lost her re-election bid last night to Republican Jen Kiggans — seemed to know that the congresswoman might be in trouble. At polling places around the coastal southern Virginia district, Democratic polling place volunteers who spoke to Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod expressed at most muted optimism about the Navy veteran’s chances of victory, with several qualifying their comments by saying that it would be a tough fight for Luria or that it was difficult to predict how the race might turn out.
Feeling good: Republicans who spoke to JI, meanwhile, were upbeat and feeling “very good” about Kiggans’ chances, said Bruce Meyer, a longtime Republican activist in the area, who spoke to JI over the sound of patriotic music blaring out of the back of a golf cart driven by a GOP candidate for local office. Meyer and another Republican volunteer who spoke to JI cited the economy as the key issue motivating turnout for Kiggans.
‘Key race’: In her two terms in Washington, Luria has established herself as a major presence on Capitol Hill on defense and national security issues, and particularly a leader among moderate pro-Israel Democrats in the House and one of the most visible Democratic critics of Iran nuclear negotiations. Her work on those issues led AIPAC’s PAC to name her reelection as one of two “key race[s]” for this cycle. Luria’s loss will come as a particular blow to this segment of the pro-Israel community, which already lost another prominent advocate this cycle in former Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), who had named Luria as one of the young generation of Jewish Democrats he saw as his successors as champions for the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Losing with grace: Luria’s emphasis on the sanctity of the democratic process was a clear throughline of her concession speech to a diminished crowd around 11 p.m. on Tuesday. When her loyal supporters booed her announcement that she had called Kiggans to concede, Luria admonished them. “Please don’t boo,” she said. “Because the success of this district depends on [Kiggans’] success. This was a hard-fought race; she won this election. We came out short of where we wanted to land. But the truth is that we do need to wish her the best of luck and my team is here… we’re going to be fully behind a smooth transition.”
new york minute
Inside Lee Zeldin’s election night party
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), whose surging campaign for governor of New York had in recent weeks raised Republican hopes for a possible upset, said he was not prepared to concede the race on Tuesday night, just an hour before his defeat to Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, was called by the Associated Press. “There’s a piece of this story that is still to be told,” Zeldin declared to a crowd of supporters at Cipriani 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan, where he took the stage around midnight, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports. “There’s over 1.4 million Election Day votes that are still out,” Zeldin said.
Breaking the glass ceiling: Meanwhile, Hochul, who assumed office after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sudden resignation last year, had already claimed victory as the first woman ever elected to the state’s top job. “Yes, the glass ceiling, like the one that’s above us today, was shattered tonight in the State of New York,” she said at another venue in Lower Manhattan. “And you, my friends, made it happen.”
Not backing down: At his election night watch party on Tuesday, Zeldin, whose favorable polling had been seen as extraordinarily robust, expressed optimism that the final tally would vindicate his campaign, sending a Republican to the governor’s mansion for the first time in more than two decades. “What’s going to happen is that over the course of these next couple of hours, you are going to see the race continue to get closer and closer and closer,” Zeldin claimed, alluding to what he envisioned as “a massive victory coming out of Long Island.” “We hope that, as these results come in, we’ll be able to prevail,” he added. “Don’t concede!” a supporter yelled from the crowd. Zeldin, an ally of former President Donald Trump, echoed the Republican leader as he took aim at “members of the media” whom he claimed “didn’t want us ever to be in contention.”
Hasidic support: Zeldin, who would have been the first Jewish Republican governor of New York, drew meaningful support from Hasidic voters in Brooklyn and elsewhere, who valued his commitment to safeguarding yeshiva education as well as an attention to crime amid an uptick in antisemitic attacks. Dov Hikind, a former Democratic member of the New York State Assembly from Brooklyn, who is Orthodox, said the decision to back Zeldin had been “a no-brainer.” “We need people who are not just going to say they’re against antisemitism,” he told JI at Cipriani on Tuesday. “But what are you doing? What’s the game plan? Show me the plan, send me a copy of the plan. How are you going to deal with out-of-control hate, which is what we’re faced with right now? Lee Zeldin, I have no doubt, will address these issues.”
🪧 Golden Opportunity: In The Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead opines that President Joe Biden should throw his weight behind the anti-regime protesters in Iran and subsequently strengthen the U.S. position with Russia, the Middle East and China. “A resolute White House bent on supporting the Iranian people would have many useful options to pursue. Working diplomatically with Europe for a ‘snapback’ of U.N. sanctions to punish Iran for arming Russia, cracking down on black-market Iranian oil exports, and otherwise crippling the regime economically would undermine the regime at a critical hour. Assuring the Iranian people that normal economic relations would quickly follow the establishment of a law-abiding government in Tehran would encourage regime opponents. Taking steps to restore internet service where the regime seeks to cut communications and providing other nonviolent, nonmilitary assistance to democratically minded protesters would further help the Iranian people regain control of their future. American cooperation with interested neighboring states could support the protests, make life more difficult for Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah, and put more pressure on both Russia and Iran.” [WSJ]
🇮🇱🇺🇸 Unshakeable Bond? In Foreign Policy, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Aaron David Miller analyzes what impact an Israeli “coalition from hell,” including the far-right Religious Zionism party, could have on U.S.-Israel relations. “Much, of course, will depend on how the new government behaves, how much control Netanyahu can muster over his unruly coalition partners, what ministerial portfolios they’re given, and what their own priorities are. Still, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker famously said the best way to find a war is to go looking for one. And right now, neither [Former Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu nor [President Joe] Biden are looking for a war. Rather than a spontaneous or major bloodletting, the U.S.-Israel relationship is more likely to suffer from a thousand cuts that will over time — concurrent with Israel’s deteriorating image — undermine the confluence of values, interests, and domestic support that have made the U.S.-Israel bond so resilient and enduring.” [FP]
🇮🇷 Sisterly Solidarity: In Politico, Iranian-American sisters Shabnam Safarzadeh and Shaghayegh Safarzadeh warn of waning interest in the Iranian demonstrations, calling on supporters around the world to harness the power of social media to keep the fight alive. “When a fire rages so fiercely, it runs the risk of burning out, or blazing out of control. It will take peaceful, strategic and consistent protest from the women, men and children of Iran to win this fight. And from the outside, it is up to us to amplify their voices, so those in power cannot silence them with censorship or quell them with violence. It will take time. But they will see our solidarity, they will feel our love, and it will give them the strength to continue until the ropes that bind Iran have burned to ash. We know how easy it is to think a problem has gone away simply because you don’t see it on the news, that ‘someone else has taken care of it.’ Don’t fall into that trap.” [Politico]
👩🎤 Miss M: In Tidal magazine, Elisabeth Vincentelli spotlights singer-songwriter Bette Midler, celebrating the variety of her music through the ages. “Midler’s uncanny grasp of the various forms of the American pop vernacular may have had something to do with a generous, open-minded artistic temperament. But it had also been refined by the demanding crowds at her regular live gigs, especially in New York — the city where she forged her reputation as a versatile interpreter (and a quick-witted stage animal) long before The Divine Miss M. Most infamous were her regular gigs at the Continental Baths (nicknamed ‘the Tubs’), a gay bathhouse with a small performing area in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She began performing there in the very early 1970s, backed by Manilow on piano. ‘You never saw anything like it,’ he told Vanity Fair in 2011. ‘It topped anything Lady Gaga is doing today. And she did it without any stage tricks or fancy effects. It was just Bette and me and a drummer.'” [Tidal]
Around the Web
🗞️ Talk of the Times:New York Times politics editor David Halbfinger gives readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the paper’s massive operation to prepare for, cover and analyze the midterms.
🥪 Corned Beef and Campaigning:Politico’s Illinois Playbook reporter Shia Kapos talks to Prairie State politicos who make a traditional Election Day pit-stop at the iconic Manny’s deli in Chicago.
🐦 Behind the Scenes:The Washington Postlooks at the key role played by attorney Alex Spiro in Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
💸 Money Comes, Money Goes: FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried is likely to lose 94% of his wealth after his rival, Binance’s Changpeng Zhao acquires FTX.
📦 Chopping Block: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced that the company will cut 13% of its workforce, amounting to 11,000 employees.
🏀 Bouncing Forward: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and suspended Nets player Kyrie Irving met yesterday for a discussion on how to move forward after an uproar surrounding Irving’s sharing of an antisemitic film on Twitter.
🌊☀️ Chugging On: Israel, the UAE and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding to advance a water-for-energy deal.
🛃 Midnight Movement: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides visited the Allenby Bridge last night between the West Bank and Jordan to receive an update on the pilot program to open the checkpoint to passenger traffic 24 hours a day.
🚫 Ben-Gvir Boycott: The U.S. “is likely to boycott” far-right Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who could become a senior minister in the Israeli government, David Makovsky, Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former Obama administration official, told NPR.
⚽ Damaging Remarks: Qatar FIFA World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman told a reporter that homosexuality is “damage in the mind,” weeks before the Gulf nation is set to host the international sporting event.
➡️ Transition: Ethan Bronner was named Bloomberg‘s Israel bureau chief and a senior editor for the Middle East, and will relocate to Israel in January.
🕯️ Remembering: Evelyn de Rothschild, the former chairman of N.M. Rothschild & Sons who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1989, died at 91.
Pic of the Day
Israeli President Isaac Herzog (right) receives the official results today of the election for the 25th Knesset from Central Elections Committee Chairman Justice Yitzhak Ami and intends to assign the task of forming a government on Sunday.
British businessman and philanthropist, formerly chairman of Lloyds Bank, Sir Maurice Victor Blank turns 80…
Israeli novelist and playwright, she is the mother of outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, Shulamit Lapid turns 88… Professional baseball manager in the minor leagues and college, he managed Team Israel in 2016 and 2017, Jerry Weinstein turns 79… Israeli war hero and long-time member of the Knesset, Zevulun Orlev turns 77… Principal of Los Angeles-based PR and public affairs firm Cerrell Associates, Hal Dash… President at Franchise Network Group, Daniel Ajzen… Mitchell Bedell… Former deputy national security advisor for President Trump, Charles Martin Kupperman turns 72… U.S. Sen. (D-OH) Sherrod Brown turns 70… Senior producer at NBC Nightly News, Joel Seidman… Political consultant and fundraiser, she founded the bipartisan group No Labels in 2010, Nancy Jacobson turns 60… Executive director of Los Angeles-based Remember Us: The Holocaust Bnai Mitzvah Project, Samara Hutman… Professor of journalism and media studies at Fordham University, Amy Beth Aronson, Ph.D. turns 60… Partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis, Douglas C. Gessner… Partner at Covington & Burling specializing in export controls and sanctions, he was previously the assistant secretary of commerce for export administration during the Bush 43 administration, Peter Lichtenbaum turns 57… Chairman and CEO of Sky Harbour, he is an American-born Israeli fighter pilot and author of a 2018 book on the future of Judaism, Tal Keinan turns 53… Founding CEO of OneTable, Aliza Kline… Associate Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court since 2015, despite being legally blind since birth as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, Richard H. Bernstein turns 48… Journalist and podcaster, he is the creator and host of “How I Built This” and “Wisdom from the Top,” Guy Raz turns 47… Israeli singer and actress, Maya Bouskilla turns 45… Co-founder and executive director of Future Now, he was elected the youngest member of the New York State Senate in 2008, Daniel Squadron turns 43… COO at BerlinRosen, David Levine… Singer, songwriter and rapper, Ari Benjamin Lesser turns 36… Chess grandmaster, Daniel Naroditsky turns 27… Incoming Army JAG officer, Matthew Adam McCoy…
BIRTHWEEK: Principal at Bayit Consulting and vice chair of IPF LA, Roei Eisenberg turned 35 on Tuesday…