National Democratic Jewish Group Makes Push in Virginia
The National Jewish Democratic Council launched a major push Thursday in Virginia, its largest ever in the commonwealth, the organization said. The group will send at least three paid organizers to the state, including one based at the University of Virginia focusing on students, and is also organizing a Virginia Volunteer Corps. There will also be literature drops, phone calls and other grass-roots canvassing.
NJDC Political Director Linda Berg said the group's members were excited by Virginia's turning blue last year and determined to keep the state in the Democratic column this year -- particularly given the national attention on Virginia as harbinger of the 2010 midterm elections.
There are two other factors at play.
The first is that Republican Bob McDonnell's association with conservative social causes could be upsetting to some Democratic-leaning Jewish voters.
"I think Jewish voters are extremely concerned with civil rights, civil liberties, women's rights and a woman's right to choose," Berg said. "There's a stark contrast between the two candidates. Voters don't necessarily know about that."
Plus, Jody Wagner, who used to be the head of Jewish Family Services in the Virginia Beach area, would be Virginia's first Jewish statewide elected official if elected lieutenant governor, a fact that could generate particular interest with Jewish voters.
Berg said the group was "very excited" about Wagner's candidacy.
How much of a difference could the outreach make? It's hard to say, but according to Berg, there are an estimated 100,000 Jews in Virginia, a number that could be meaningful in a close race.
October 15, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
Categories: 2009 Attorney General's Race , 2009 Governor's Race , 2009 Lieutenant Governor's Race , Creigh Deeds , Election 2009 , Jody Wagner , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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