Jewish Political Voices Project

This month, Moment launches its 2020 Jewish Political Voices Project. Between now and the presidential election, we will be taking a deep dive into the political views of the American Jewish community and bringing you along.

The Jewish Political Voices Project will explore the political and cultural forces splitting apart both the nation and American Jews. It offers an alternative to polls, which, as we saw during the 2016 presidential election, are not always a reliable predictor of voter behavior. Instead, by getting to know three politically engaged voters in each of ten battleground states, we will learn what voters are thinking and how their attitudes change over time. And, as this project reminds us, Jews—be they Democrats, Republicans or independents—are by no means a homogeneous group of voters: We are individuals with distinct stories and many takes on Israel, anti-Semitism, immigration, climate change, the economy, health care, guns, Iran and impeachment.

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    The political attitudes and preferences of the American Jewish community have a significant impact on American electoral politics. Jews make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population, but voter turnout is considerable: About 85 percent of adult Jews voted in recent presidential elections,  according to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, compared to the national average of 55-63 percent. Our featured voters live in Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. In 2016, candidate Donald Trump won all of these states but two—Nevada and Virginia—although Republican support eroded during the 2018 midterms. Since winning margins were small, Jewish voters in these swing states have a real potential to shift the outcome. For instance, in 2016, Trump won by fewer than 11,000 votes in Michigan, a state where an estimated 71,500 adults identify as Jewish, out of a total Jewish population of 116,200, according to new data compiled by the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute. In Florida, where an estimated 510,800 residents of voting age identify as Jewish, out of a total Jewish population of 736,300, Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just under 113,000 votes.

    We found our “voices” by reaching out to Jewish communities across the country. They are students, lawyers, doctors, businesspeople, public servants and others who range in age from 21 to 92. About two-thirds consider themselves Democrats, while the other third are Republicans, approximately reflecting the voting patterns of the Jewish electorate. However, their attitudes and preferences vary widely—and many of them could be considered independent voters.  

    Below, you’ll meet the thirty voters we are interviewing. Look for more of their stories in the coming months. Through the fast-moving news cycles, debates, primaries, caucuses and general election, our team will also provide updates, stories, fresh analysis and real-time insights to guide you through this historic and unprecedented campaign. 

    Director: Amy Saltzman

    Deputy director: Suzanne Borden

    Interview team: Suzanne Borden, Dan Freedman, Lilly Gelman, Nathan Guttman, Sandra Perlmutter, Amy Saltzman, Francie Schwartz, Stuart Schwartz, Sherry Schweitzer, Charles Wolfson

    Additional editorial support: Mary Hadar, Laurence Wolff

    Website: Ellen Wexler

    We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.

    All Jewish population data is from the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University’s Steinhardt Social Research Institute.

Featured Interviews
Ongoing Findings

Our Battleground States

Arizona

State info

Total Jewish population

135,200 

Percent of total population 

1.9%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 41.1%
Republican: 22.7%
Independent: 33.9%
Other: 2.3%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 45%
Trump: 50%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 42%
Incumbent Republican: 56%

Senate
Democrat: 50%
Republican: 48%

House
Democrat: 5
Republican: 4

Total Jewish population

135,200 

Percent of total population 

1.9%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 41.1%
Republican: 22.7%
Independent: 33.9%
Other: 2.3%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 45%
Trump: 50%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 42%
Incumbent Republican: 56%

Senate
Democrat: 50%
Republican: 48%

House
Democrat: 5
Republican: 4

headshot_Alma-Hernandez

Alma Hernandez

Hernandez is the first Jewish Mexican-American woman elected to the Arizona State House. Her brother is also a state representative in South Tucson, and her sister is on the school board. She grew up in a nonobservant intermarried family. She connected to Judaism as a teenager, has held leadership positions in several Jewish organizations and recently became a bat mitzvah.

ABOUT

Age

26

Location 

Tucson, AZ

Party

Democrat

Occupation

State Representative

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Joe Biden

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

NPR, CNN, MSNBC, BBC News, local newspaper

Family

Single

Headshot_Hamer-Photo-2016

Glenn Hamer

As head of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Hamer is a vocal proponent of international trade, advocating for an Arizona-Mexico trade alliance and serving on international delegations to China, Canada, Israel and the UK. He previously worked on Capitol Hill and was executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. He is married to a native Israeli whom he met at an AIPAC conference.

ABOUT

Age

50

Location 

Scottsdale, AZ

Party

Republican

Occupation

President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Undecided

2016 choice

3rd party candidate

News sources

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Jerusalem Post, Forbes, Fox Business News radio, CNN radio, NPR, Real Clear Politics, Predict It, FiveThirtyEight, local news radio, Twitter

Family

Married with three daughters

Headshot_Robert-Schwebel-1

Robert Schwebel

As a clinical psychologist, Schwebel develops drug abuse recovery programs focusing on the reasons behind addiction. He rebelled against Judaism as a child but had a bar mitzvah while living in Hungary, where his parents were on teaching sabbaticals. Schwebel is also a human- rights activist and volunteers his time doing intake interviews for immigrants seeking asylum.

ABOUT

Age

71

Location 

Tucson, AZ

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Clinical psychologist

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

2016 choice

Bernie Sanders in the primary; Hillary Clinton in the general

News sources

The New York Times, The Nation, Moment Magazine, MSNBC, CNN

Family

Married to a non-Jewish woman from Mexico; two sons in their 20s

Florida

State info

Total Jewish population

736,300

Percent of total population 

3.5%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 48.1%
Republican: 20%
Independent: 29.2%
Other: 2.7%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 48%
Trump: 49%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Incumbent Democrat: 49%
Republican: 50%

Senate
Democrat: 49.9%
Republican: 50.1%

House
Democrat: 13
Republican: 14

Total Jewish population

736,300

Percent of total population 

3.5%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 48.1%
Republican: 20%
Independent: 29.2%
Other: 2.7%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 48%
Trump: 49%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Incumbent Democrat: 49%
Republican: 50%

Senate
Democrat: 49.9%
Republican: 50.1%

House
Democrat: 13
Republican: 14

headshot_Lynne_Toporov

Lynne Toporov

Toporov grew up in an agnostic Philadelphia family surrounded by Democrats. Her grandfather was a Communist. She was confirmed but does not consider herself religious and does not currently belong to a synagogue. She always voted for Democrats, including President Barack Obama, until about four years ago when she started listening to conservative talk radio and found she connected to what she heard.

ABOUT

Age

76

Location 

Sarasota, FL

Party

Republican

Occupation

Retired, former assistant to the news director at KYW Radio in Philadelphia

Jewish denomination

Unaffiliated

Current 2020 choice

Donald Trump

2016 choice

Donald Trump

News sources

Fox News, conservative radio station AM 930 WLSS

Family

Married with three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren

headshot_miriam

Miriam Laing

Laing has spent most of her career working for nonprofit Jewish organizations. An activist since childhood, she is very involved with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and lives just 32 miles from Parkland, Florida. She believes it is important that her children “understand what it means to be involved in your community and to give back and take responsibility.”

ABOUT

Age

50

Location 

Lake Worth, FL

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Database manager for a non-profit

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and a toss-up between Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Washington Post, MSNBC, politicians’ Twitter accounts

Family

Married; two children

Dan-Levin-Headshot-2019

Daniel Levin

Levin is a past president of the southeast region of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and served as a member of the Reform Movement’s Think Tank, a group seeking to create a “visioning process” for the future of Reform Judaism. He has also served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.

ABOUT

Age

50

Location 

Boca Raton, FL

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth El

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Undecided

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Atlantic, The New Republic, Commentary, CNN, NPR, MSNBC

Family

Married; three children

Iowa

State info

Total Jewish population

11,600

Percent of total population 

<1%

Jewish voter party identification

Democrat: 47.5%
Republican: 17.4%
Independent: 32.9%
Other: 2.2%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 42%
Trump: 52%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 48%
Incumbent Republican: 50%

Senate
n/a

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 1

Total Jewish population

11,600

Percent of total population 

<1%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 47.5%
Republican: 17.4%
Independent: 32.9%
Other: 2.2%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 42%
Trump: 52%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 48%
Incumbent Republican: 50%

Senate
n/a

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 1

headshot_Josh_Mandelbaum

Josh Mandelbaum

Mandelbaum comes from a long line of Iowans and attends Temple B’nai Jeshurun, the congregation his great-great-grandfather helped found in 1873. He works for the nonprofit Environmental Law Policy Center on clean energy and clean water issues. He has volunteered for political campaigns for more than 20 years and currently serves on the greater Des Moines Jewish Federation Board.

ABOUT

Age

40

Location 

Des Moines, IA

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Environmental lawyer and member of Des Moines City Council

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Undecided, but likes Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, The Daily podcast, Twitter, candidates’ social media and emails

Family

Married with two young children

Headshot_bud

Harlan “Bud” Hockenberg

Hockenberg is a fourth generation Des Moines resident and a member of the Conservative synagogue Tifereth Israel, where he is a former president. He is still a “very active” attorney and will attend his 53rd consecutive AIPAC conference in March 2020. He’s the former president of the Des Moines Jewish Federation and a founding member of what is now the Republican Jewish Coalition, as well as Iowans Supporting Israel, a bipartisan group.

ABOUT

Age

92

Location 

Des Moines, IA

Party

Republican

Occupation

 Business lawyer

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Donald Trump

2016 choice

Donald Trump

News sources

Des Moines Register, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN, MSNBC; “independent, reliable sources from both parties”

Family

Married; three children

Headshot_janice02

Janice Weiner

Weiner is very active in the Democratic Party and is first vice-chair of the Johnson County Democrats—the “bluest county in Iowa.” She is president-elect of her synagogue, Agudas Achim, and on its safety committee, an area where she gained expertise while in the Foreign Service. She is also on the board of Shelter House, a rapid rehousing NGO and serves on her local foreign relations council.

ABOUT

Age

61

Location 

Iowa City, IA

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Retired Foreign Service; elected to City Council in Iowa City on November 5, 2019

Jewish denomination

Synagogue is combined Reform/Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Undecided, but likes Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton (Worked with her and her staff while she was Secretary of State and First Lady. She “did well by people at State.”)

News sources

The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR; Facebook friends I trust and who post nuanced articles; Democrats at all levels in Iowa.

Family

Never married, raised two adopted daughters, now raising my 2-year-old granddaughter

Michigan

State info

Total Jewish population

116,200

Percent of total population 

1.2%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 47%
Republican: 17.1%
Independent: 32.9%
Other: 3%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 47%
Trump: 48%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 53%
Republican: 44%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 52%
Republican: 46%

House
Democrat: 7
Republican: 7
Independent: 1

Total Jewish population

116,200

Percent of total population 

1.2%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 47%
Republican: 17.1%
Independent: 32.9%
Other: 3%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 47%
Trump: 48%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 53%
Republican: 44%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 52%
Republican: 46%

House
Democrat: 7
Republican: 7
Independent: 1

headshot_Sander_Eisen

Sander Eizen

Eizen grew up in a Modern Orthodox household in Oak Park, Michigan. He attended Jewish day school starting in nursery school and went to an Orthodox Zionist sleepaway camp. At the University of Michigan, he attends events at Hillel and the Jewish Resource Center, and lives in a house with eight students who come from Modern Orthodox or “Conservadox” backgrounds.

ABOUT

Age

21

Location 

Ann Arbor, MI

Party

Republican

Occupation

Senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in political science; minoring in computer science

Jewish denomination

Modern Orthodox

Current 2020 choice

Andrew Yang

2016 choice

Wrote in Marco Rubio

News sources

National Review, Twitter, Bipartisan Policy Center, Students for Carbon Dividends

Family

Single. Father is a retired firefighter and mother is director of training for a geriatric consulting firm

headshot_ronda

Rhonda Rich

Rich grew up in a culturally Jewish family in San Francisco. She “found” Judaism in college after visiting the San Jose University Hillel and attending a Shabbat dinner, a day she remembers as “one of the most important days of my life.” Since Missouri’s attempt earlier this year to ban abortion after eight weeks, women’s reproductive rights have become a crucial issue for Rich. (The ban is currently under partial court-ordered injunction.)

ABOUT

Age

54

Location 

West Bloomfield, MI

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Volunteer in geriatric community and local Jewish community organizations

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Pete Buttigieg

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The Washington Post, CBS News, NPR, Facebook, candidate late-night talk show appearances

Family

Married; one college-aged daughter

headshot_stuart

Stuart Baum

Baum is the president of the student government at Wayne State University and an intern in the Michigan state legislature where he serves as a community liaison, connecting resident concerns with legislative priorities. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he would like to see more attention to gay rights in the presidential campaign.

ABOUT

Age

22

Location 

Detroit, MI

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Senior at Wayne State University, majoring in public affairs with a minor in criminal justice

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Elizabeth Warren

2016 choice

Bernie Sanders in primary; Hillary Clinton in general

News sources

MSNBC, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN, PBS’s Off the Record, local news, Facebook and Reddit posts and comments, Vice and Vox YouTube video news, debates, friends

Family

Single. His mother died about five years ago

Nevada

State info

Total Jewish population

76,200

Percent of total population 

2.5%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 44.2%
Republican: 20.3%
Independent: 32.8%
Other: 2.8%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 48%
Trump: 46%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 49%
Republican: 45%

Senate
Democrat: 50%
Incumbent Republican: 45%

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 1

Total Jewish population

76,200

Percent of total population 

2.5%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 44.2%
Republican: 20.3%
Independent: 32.8%
Other: 2.8%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 48%
Trump: 46%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 49%
Republican: 45%

Senate
Democrat: 50%
Incumbent Republican: 45%

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 1

headshot_Felipe_Goodman

Felipe Goodman

Goodman is a Mexican immigrant. He was an assistant rabbi in Mexico City before joining Temple Beth Sholom in 1998. Named one of America’s most inspiring rabbis by The Forward in 2013, he participated in a series of White House meetings with President Barack Obama on relationships with the Jewish community and on Israel’s security. One reason he became a U.S. citizen 12 years ago was so he could vote.

ABOUT

Age

52

Location 

Las Vegas, NV

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Rabbi

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post

Family

Married with three children over 18

headshot_Shelly

Shelley Berkley

Berkley served in the U.S. House of Representatives for seven terms (1999-2013), representing Nevada’s 1st District, which includes Las Vegas. In 2012, she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. While in Congress, she was an outspoken supporter of Israel. At Touro University, Berkley oversees two medical schools—in Nevada and in northern California.

ABOUT

Age

68

Location 

Las Vegas, NV

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Former member of Congress; current CEO and Senior Provost of Touro University Western Division

Jewish denomination

Reform/Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Joe Biden

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The Washington Post, The Las Vegas Journal Sun, CNN, MSNBC; a “voracious reader” of newspapers, history books and historical documents

Family

Married; two adult children

headshot_Sandra_Mellin

Sandy Mallin

Mallin is married to Stanley Mallin, 96, who developed and subsequently sold Caesars Palace and Circus Circus on the Las Vegas strip. She has worked in Jewish philanthropy for 40 years, including as campaign chair of the Jewish Federation of Nevada and president of the board at Temple Beth Shalom. Mallin and her husband founded a preschool in Las Vegas—the Sandra and Stanley Mallin Early Childhood Center.

ABOUT

Age

76

Location 

Las Vegas, NV

Party

Republican

Occupation

Philanthropist

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Donald Trump

2016 choice

Initially Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, then Donald Trump

News sources

Fox News, One America News, conservative talk radio—Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Dennis Praeger

Family

Married; three children in their 50s from her first marriage, and two stepchildren

North Carolina

State info

Total Jewish population

112,500

Percent of total population 

1.1%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 45.4%
Republican: 20.4%
Independent: 32.2%
Other: 2%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 47%
Trump: 51%

2018 midterm results

Governor
n/a

Senate
n/a

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 10

Total Jewish population

112,500

Percent of total population 

1.1%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 45.4%
Republican: 20.4%
Independent: 32.2%
Other: 2%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 47%
Trump: 51%

2018 midterm results

Governor
n/a

Senate
n/a

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 10

headshot_goldhaber-photo

Mark Goldhaber

Goldhaber worked for a Republican member of Congress, the National Republican Congressional Committee and was a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is active in both the Jewish Federation and AIPAC. His wife is a Democrat and he’s a Republican, which they’ve “dealt with happily for 35 years.”

ABOUT

Age

67

Location 

Raleigh, NC

Party

Republican

Occupation

Attorney working in housing and mortgage finance

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Undecided

2016 choice

Marco Rubio and John Kasich in primary; voted Libertarian in general

News sources

The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico and various political podcasts: Dana Perino, The Rubin Report, Ben Shapiro, David Axelrod

Family

Married; two children

Headshot_sandra

Sandra Lawson

Lawson grew up in a nonpracticing Christian family and served in the Army during her college years. After leaving the military, she befriended a rabbi who introduced her to Judaism. She enjoyed going to synagogue and liked the Jewish community, so she decided to convert and ultimately attended rabbinical school. She identifies as queer and lives with her wife.

ABOUT

Age

50

Location 

Burlington, NC

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Rabbi/Associate Chaplain for Jewish Life at Elon University

Jewish denomination

Reconstructionist

Current 2020 choice

Undecided

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, Twitter

Family

Married 

Ohio

State info

Total Jewish population

161,400

Percent of total population 

1.4%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 48.1%
Republican: 18.4%
Independent: 30.7%
Other: 2.8%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 44%
Trump: 52%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 47%
Republican: 50%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 53%
Republican: 47%

House
Democrat: 4
Republican: 12

Total Jewish population

161,400

Percent of total population 

1.4%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 48.1%
Republican: 18.4%
Independent: 30.7%
Other: 2.8%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 44%
Trump: 52%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 47%
Republican: 50%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 53%
Republican: 47%

House
Democrat: 4
Republican: 12

headshot_Nina_Stenly

Nina Stanley

Nina Stanley’s “very liberal” leanings haven’t budged since May 4, 1970, when bullets fired by the Ohio National Guard struck down four fellow students at Kent State University during the Vietnam War protest. “I was shot at. A friend pushed me down. I had never heard gunfire in my life and had no idea they were using live ammunition. When I got up, I said something like, ‘I didn’t know blanks could do that to you.’”

ABOUT

Age

68

Location 

Cincinnati, OH

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Retired nurse

Jewish denomination

Unaffiliated

Current 2020 choice

Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

CNN, MSNBC, internet, “reads everything”

Family

Divorced with one daughter, one grandson

headshot_levea

Lavea Brachman

Brachman is an expert on urban policy who cofounded the Greater Ohio Policy Center. She grew up in an observant family with deep moderate-Republican roots in Ohio. Her family owned a paint and resin manufacturing company in Columbus, where her husband, Andrew Smith, who was also interviewed for this project, is currently CEO. She is in a “mixed marriage”—her husband is a Republican.

ABOUT

Age

56

Location 

Columbus, OH

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Vice-president of programs for a Detroit-based foundation

Jewish denomination

Unaffiliated

Current 2020 choice

Joe Biden

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Detroit Free Press, Columbus Dispatch, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, NPR

Family

Married; two children

headshot_Andrew-O.-Smith-for-ABC-CLIO

Andrew Smith

Smith grew up in Maine where he was raised “conservative, because that’s pretty much all we had up there.” He is a lifelong Republican who can’t stand Trump, and he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. When he married Lavea Brachman, a Democrat, who was also interviewed for this project, he went to work in his in-law’s paint and resin business in Columbus. He is now CEO.

ABOUT

Age

57

Location 

Columbus, OH

Party

Republican

Occupation

CEO of a family-owned paint and resin company

Jewish denomination

Unaffiliated

Current 2020 choice

Not Trump; maybe Joe Biden

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Columbus Dispatch, The Economist, The Atlantic, Commentary, Fox News, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, local business press

Family

Married; two children

Pennsylvania

State info

Total Jewish population

311,500

Percent of total population 

2.4%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 55.8%
Republican: 18.4%
Independent: 23%
Other: 2.8%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 48%
Trump: 49%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Incumbent Democrat: 58%
Republican: 41%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 56%
Republican: 43%

House
Democrat: 9
Republican: 9

Total Jewish population

311,500

Percent of total population 

2.4%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 55.8%
Republican: 18.4%
Independent: 23%
Other: 2.8%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 48%
Trump: 49%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Incumbent Democrat: 58%
Republican: 41%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 56%
Republican: 43%

House
Democrat: 9
Republican: 9

headshot_Lou_Weiss

Lou Weiss

Weiss grew up a Reform Jew in a “McGovern liberal family” in Pittsburgh. His conservative political views took hold in a college freshman political science class. Today, he belongs to four synagogues. He was president of Congregation Or L’Simcha, the synagogue that merged in 2010 with the Tree of Life congregation. He occasionally writes op-eds for The Wall Street Journal.

ABOUT

Age

63

Location 

Pittsburgh, PA

Party

Republican

Occupation

Retired; previously ran family carpet business

Jewish denomination

Conservative, but also belongs to Reform, Orthodox and Chabad congregations

Current 2020 choice

Bill Weld in Republican primary; Amy Klobuchar in general election

2016 choice

Marco Rubio in the primary; wrote in his wife in general election

News sources

The Wall Street Journal editorial page, The New York Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Drudge Report, Bret Baier on Fox News, Dennis Prager’s radio show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Family

Married with four adult daughters; one is New York Times columnist Bari Weiss

NANCY-ON-LINKEDIN-(1)

Nancy Santanello

Santanello was raised a Catholic and converted to Judaism when she married her Jewish husband. She doesn’t shy away from standing out. Santanello was the only white woman in her Howard University medical school class. She married a man who is 14 years her junior. And she is vocal about politics on Twitter, where she has nearly 2,000 followers. “Twitter is my outlet. Where else can you publicly tell President Trump that he’s a moron.”

ABOUT

Age

70

Location 

New Hope, PA

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Health care consultant; retired Vice President of Epidemiology at Merck Research Laboratories

Jewish denomination

Reconstructionist

Current 2020 choice

Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg

2016 choice

Bernie Sanders in primary; Hillary Clinton in general

News sources

The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Slate; monitors right-wing media such as The Daily Caller and Breitbart; Twitter

Family

Married; two adult children

headshot_stephany02

Stephanie Wudarski

Wudarski works for a managed Medicaid company and has a background in substance abuse disorders. She is a passionate supporter of Kamala Harris and volunteers regularly for her campaign on activities such as canvassing, social media outreach and voter texting. She does not belong to a synagogue but attends High Holy Day services with her family and went to Israel on Birthright.

ABOUT

Age

30

Location 

Pittsburgh, PA

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Clinical social worker

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Kamala Harris

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The Washington Post, MSNBC, Twitter

Family

Married 

Virginia

State info

Total Jewish population

166,200

Percent of total population 

1.9%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 48.6%
Republican: 17.7%
Independent: 31.1%
Other: 2.6%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 50%
Trump: 45%

2018 midterm results

Governor
n/a

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 57%
Republican: 41%

House
Democrat: 7
Republican: 4

Total Jewish population

166,200

Percent of total population 

1.9%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 48.6%
Republican: 17.7%
Independent: 31.1%
Other: 2.6%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 50%
Trump: 45%

2018 midterm results

Governor
n/a

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 57%
Republican: 41%

House
Democrat: 7
Republican: 4

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Alan Zimmerman

Zimmerman was president of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville during the Unite the Right march in August 2017. Zimmerman remembers standing on the steps, watching armed neo-Nazis shouting “Heil Hitler.” He was “not surprised that there is anti-Semitism in America—I’m not naïve—but that it could be displayed so brazenly and even proudly in the streets of an American city was frankly shocking.”

ABOUT

Age

61

Location 

Charlottesville, VA

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Financial journalist

Jewish denomination

Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, CNN, MSNBC, occasionally Fox News, Talking Points Memo, the blog Blue Virginia, the conservative website Bearing Drift

Family

Married with three children in their 20s

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Beth Bendheim

Prior to working in the financial industry, Bendheim held public relations and marketing positions in the sports world, including with a North American cycling race originally sponsored by Donald Trump and known as the Tour de Trump. She was also the development director for the Jewish day school in Richmond. Bendheim was active in the 2018 Virginia congressional campaign of Democrat Abigail Spanberger, who defeated incumbent Republican Dave Brat.

ABOUT

Age

50

Location 

Richmond, VA

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Works for a financial company in content development and strategy

Jewish denomination

Raised Orthodox; now Reform. Attends Chabad services.

Current 2020 choice

Elizabeth Warren

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Hill, HuffPost, NPR, MSNBC, CBS News. Will go to Fox News to see what they’re saying

Family

Divorced; 16-year-old son

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Michael Ginsberg

Ginsberg, an attorney and aerospace engineer, is vice president and deputy general counsel for CACI International, an information technology company that contracts to federal defense and intelligence agencies. He is a leader of the Suburban Virginia Coalition, which aims to improve Republican standing in suburban communities that have “taken a hit over the last several cycles.”

ABOUT

Age

45

Location 

Centerville, VA

Party

Republican

Occupation

Attorney in the national security field

Jewish denomination

Reform/Conservative

Current 2020 choice

Undecided

2016 choice

Donald Trump

News sources

The National Review, The New York Times columnists, conservative political blog Hot Air

Family

Married; two children, ages four and nine months

Wisconsin

State info

Total Jewish population

46,400

Percent of total population 

<1%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 47.3%
Republican: 18.9%
Independent: 31.5%
Other: 2.3%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 47%
Trump: 48%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 50%
Incumbent Republican: 48%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 55%
Republican: 45%

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 5

Total Jewish population

46,400

Percent of total population 

<1%

Jewish party identification

Democrat: 47.3%
Republican: 18.9%
Independent: 31.5%
Other: 2.3%

2016 presidential results

Clinton: 47%
Trump: 48%

2018 midterm results

Governor
Democrat: 50%
Incumbent Republican: 48%

Senate
Incumbent Democrat: 55%
Republican: 45%

House
Democrat: 3
Republican: 5

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Ruth Kantrowitz

Kantrowitz, an Israeli immigrant, moved to the U.S. in 1989 at age 13 when her family won the green card lottery. She calls herself a “very liberal conservative” who supports both abortion and gun rights. Kantrowitz carried twins for a New York gay couple. She voted twice for President Barack Obama, but says his presidency pushed her to become a Republican because of “handouts” and “immigrants living off tax dollars.”

ABOUT

Age

42

Location 

Mequon, WI

Party

Republican

Occupation

Owns and runs seven group homes for the elderly and people with disabilities

Jewish denomination

Belongs to a Reform synagogue, but doesn’t want to define her denomination

Current 2020 choice

Donald Trump

2016 choice

Donald Trump

News sources

Fox News, Breitbart, Facebook, a friend who follows alternative news outlets, conservative friends

Family

Married with two school-age children and one foster child

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Eliot Strickon

Strickon is the child of anthropologists who were students of Margaret Mead. He describes himself as a Bundist (a secular Jewish socialist movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s), as opposed to a socialist. His grandmother was in the hat makers union starting in the 1930s, and he, his mother and sister were in teachers’ unions. Strickon lives in a Jewish Orthodox and African American urban community and serves on his synagogue’s board.

ABOUT

Age

54

Location 

Milwaukee, WI

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Retired teacher in the United States and Israel

Jewish denomination

Ultra-Orthodox

Current 2020 choice

Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris

2016 choice

Bernie Sanders in primary; Hillary Clinton in the general

News sources

NPR, CNN, multiple news outlets in his social media feed, Fox News (to keep track of other viewpoints), local radio, Jewish Community Relations Council

Family

Married; three sons—two school-aged and one in college

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Hannah Rosenthal

Rosenthal originally thought she would follow her father, a 16th-generation rabbi, into the family business. Instead, she became a “professional Jew” and a “professional feminist.” Rosenthal has held a range of political and government roles, including Midwest regional director, Department of Health and Human Services (Clinton administration) and the State Department’s U.S. Special Envoy in the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism (Obama administration). She also served as executive director of the Chicago Foundation for Women.

ABOUT

Age

68

Location 

Madison, WI

Party

Democrat

Occupation

Retired; former president and CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Milwaukee

Jewish denomination

Reform

Current 2020 choice

Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris

2016 choice

Hillary Clinton

News sources

The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC

Family

Divorced; two daughters and three grandchildren

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