WASHINGTON (RNS) Are there still Jews left in Congress? Yes, but soon, none of them will be Republican.
In a stunning upset, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — the only Republican Jewish member of Congress — lost his primary Tuesday (June 11) to Tea Party candidate David Brat. There are still Jews in Congress: 11 Democratic Jewish senators, one Independent Jewish senator and 22 Democratic Jewish House members.
Among non-Tea Party Republicans and Jewish Republicans, there is much tsuris — to use a good Yiddish word — over Cantor’s loss. But 70 percent of Jewish Americans are either Democrats or lean Democratic, according to a 2013 Pew Center study. Though he is the second-highest ranking member of the House, conservative Cantor does not enjoy the support of a broad fan base of his co-religionists.
Most analysts say that Cantor lost because he supported immigration reform or because his leadership duties shifted his focus away from his district constituents, the people who decide whether he remains in Congress. Here’s a sampling what the Twitterverse had to say about Cantor’s falling star, beginning with Matthew Brooks, head of the Republican Jewish Coalition:
Numb. Speechless. Sad
— Matt Brooks (@Mbrooksrjc) June 11, 2014
.@DraperRobert My point isn't so much that GOP voters held his religion against him. It's that Cantor just culturally dissimilar from base.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) June 11, 2014
— Michael Paulson (@MichaelPaulson) June 11, 2014
It's funny how today's headline "Brat Upsets Cantor" so accurately describes my Bar Mitzvah performance.
— Jonathan Miller (@RecoveringPol) June 11, 2014
Eric Cantor's stunning loss means there could be no Jewish Republicans in Congress. Wow.
— Jane Eisner (@Jane_Eisner) June 11, 2014
— Religion NewsService (@RNS) June 11, 2014
Eric Cantor's loss — Good for the Jews or bad for the Jews, no denying this is a shocker for this one Jew. Wow.
— Andrea Stone (@andreastonez) June 11, 2014
Cantor is most senior Jewish elected official in U.S. His defeat deprives Israel in general and its right in particular of valuable ally.
— Chemi Shalev (@ChemiShalev) June 11, 2014
With Cantor's downfall, Republicans and Congress likely to lose highest ranking elected Jewish official in US history http://t.co/SIAPEmvtZI
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) June 11, 2014
— Michael Peppard (@MichaelPeppard) June 11, 2014