The National Jewish Democratic Council is launching some last-minute fund-raising aimed at boosting the reelection campaign of Gov. Jon Corzine.
The outreach group is planning a dessert reception with Corzine’s running mate for lieutenant governor, State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (Dist. 37) on Monday, Oct. 12, at the Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer law firm in Woodbridge.
On Oct. 1, NJDC’s political director, Linda Berg, made an e-mail appeal for funds to expand its direct-mail efforts in New Jersey and Virginia, setting a target of $60,000 for Oct. 5.
“We were pleased,” Berg told NJ Jewish News on Monday. “I’ve been told I should never talk numbers, but we did very well, and I’m very happy.”
The fund-raising reflects concern about Jewish swing voters in a close race between Corzine and his Republican challenger, Chris Christie.
“Twenty percent of the Jewish vote…can swing between Republican and Democrat,” said Berg. “We know that this is going to be a close race, and we want to make sure that Jewish voters are educated about issues that Jewish voters care about.”
Those issues, said Berg, include Israel, abortion, gun control, and stem cell research.
“We like it that both candidates support Israel. Israel should not be a wedge issue. But we want Jewish voters to understand the long history Jon Corzine has with the Jewish community and with Israel — how many times he’s been there and how he has encouraged trade,” she said.
“And,” she promptly added, Corzine “has picked a feisty Jewish grandmother to be his running mate. We think that’s very cool.”
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told NJJN he believes Jewish voters are “really feeling the pain of the failures of Corzine’s leadership. The greatest Jewish value is family, as we all know, but under Corzine it is becoming increasingly more expensive to live in New Jersey.”
Brooks said he considers the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia as “critically important elections,” testing President Barack Obama’s political strength.
Berg disagrees. Even if Corzine is defeated, she said, she believes “it shouldn’t” affect next year’s congressional races or be interpreted as a general Republican resurgence.
“The gubernatorial race hinges on very local issues,” she said. “But the chattering classes make a very big deal over what happens in this off-year and consider it the bellwether of this election cycle. It doesn’t make a lot of logical sense, but what else are they going to talk about?”