Kevin McCarthy Courts Upstate New York Orthodox Jews in Bid to Save House Majority

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has recently made at least three pilgrimages to upstate New York to confer with Orthodox Jewish leaders who lead critical voting blocs for Republicans in swing districts.

The trips come as McCarthy seeks a path to salvage his slim five-seat majority in the House of Representatives, much of which he owes to a red wave that hit New York, even without reaching the rest of the country.

“If you think about it, we have a lot in common,” McCarthy, 58 and a devout Baptist, said of his relationship with the chief rabbis. “The more they look at the policies that Republicans have with liberty, family and freedom of religion, I think they’re making a difference, especially upstate.”

Days before the 2022 midterm elections, McCarthy traveled to the Hasidic village of New Square in Rockland County to confer with Rabbi David Twersky.

The 82-year-old rabbi was backing Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, and McCarthy showed up to ask for a last-minute change.

The mission failed, but McCarthy promised he would return. Maloney was still beaten by Republican candidate Mike Lawler.

President Kevin McCarthy is courting Jewish voters. Courtesy of Rabbi Moshe Margaretten
Speaker McCarthy seeks to preserve a slim five-seat majority in the House.President McCarthy seeks to preserve a slim five-seat majority in the House.Getty Images
Upstate Rep. Mike Lawler only won his 2022 race by a few thousand votes.Upstate Rep. Mike Lawler only won his 2022 race by a few thousand votes.AP

In March he returned and met with Twersky again, this time with Lawler at his side. In July, McCarthy sent a personal letter to commemorate Twersky’s granddaughter’s wedding and got maudlin.

“Without a doubt, your guidance and wisdom have played an important role in shaping your granddaughter’s life and guiding her to this moment,” the speaker wrote.

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McCarthy also visited Hasidic Jews in Monticello in Sullivan County at a fundraiser for Rep. Marc Molinaro. He was welcomed by the Tzedek Association, a nonprofit organization, and its politically influential leader, Rabbi Moshe Margaretten.

“He was extremely kind and very positive and we know that the speaker is a friend of the Jewish community. For many years he has supported our values ​​and it was a great honor for us to meet him,” Margaretten said.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Rabbi Moshe Margaretten in Monticello, New York.Speaker Kevin McCarthy meets with Rabbi Moshe Margaretten in Monticello, New York. Courtesy of Rabbi Moshe Margaretten
Orthodox Jews will be a critical voting bloc in the 2024 elections in New York.Orthodox Jews will be a critical voting bloc in the 2024 elections in New York.Getty Images

Secular Jews are one of the country’s most reliable Democratic voting blocs, but the rapidly growing Hasidic population leans conservative. Both Lawler and Molinaro edged out their Democratic opponents in 2022 by a few thousand votes.

House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries has also been targeting religious Jews. In June he held a meeting in the Jewish enclave of Kiryas Joel, in Satmar, in the north of the state, with spiritual leader Aaron Teitelbaum.

McCarthy said he was confident the Orthodox community would support the Republican Party in 2024.

“Hakeem can run for them, but what is he going to do but apologize for the anti-Semitism of his other members?” McCarthy said, referring to liberal Democrats like Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who was ousted from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for past comments about Jews. “What do you do when they just attack the Jewish faith and the comments they make? It’s really scary.”

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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