From Richard Baehr
J-Street has endorsed 58 candidates for senate or house so far, 57 of them Democrats
2 of the 3 Senate endorsements are for open seats. One is for Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who faces a serious challenge this year.
1. I think as a rule, we should never give money to any candidate endorsed by J-Street.
In the open seat races, there is no incumbency rule (e.g vote for the candidate who voted for foreign aid, )
so the two open seats are easy: we should support Republican Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak, in Pennsylvania. Sestak had a poor record on Israel votes in Congress. Toomey had a very good record on Israel votes when he was in Congress.
We should support Republican Roy Blunt in Missouri over Robin Carnahan. Blunt had a good voting record on Israel in Congress. Carnahan has no record, but obviously said something sweet to J-Street's ears.
2. We should not give big amounts to candidates who have little or no competition in their races. (e.g dick durbin, daniel inouye). Better to give to more candidates, and give bigger gifts in close races.
3. Of the 55 members of the House on the J-street list, these are the 17 who realclearpolitics.com rates as vulnerable this cycle (in alpahabetical order, as is the J-street list)
Russ Carnahan, Gerry Connolly, Bill Foster, Debbie Halvorson, Jim Himes, Rush Holt, Steve Kagen, Mary Jo Kilroy, Ron Kind, Dan Maffei, Betsy Markey, Chris Murphy, Scott Murphy, Bill Owens, Tom Perriello, Carol Shea Porter, and John Yarmuth.
If we will be backing Joel Pollak (Schakowsky is not yet on the vulnerable list), then some of these 17 are worth opposing as well. Among those who standout for being very critical of Israel is Carol Shea Porter, a hard left member from New Hampshire.
There are other competitive Senate races, a few of which are open seats:
Florida: Marco Rubio has the best position paper on Israel of any member running. Much better than Crist or Meeks
Two incumbents who are facing challenges , and have good voting records on Israel: Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, and Richard Burr, Republican from North Carolina. Both are ahead by small margins.
In Kentucky, Rand Paul is not as much of a loon as his dad, and has authored a decent position paper on Israel . But I think he is still suspect. Jack Conway is his opponent.
Two other open Senate seats offer easy choices: In Ohio, Rob Portman had a perfect voting record on Israel in Congress. He is running against Lee Fisher who was never in Congress and has no record. This is a very close race. In Indiana, Dan Coats is expected to beat Brad Ellsworth easily. both had good voting records on Israel in Congress, but we should go with the winner to establish a link.
To date, we have given a bit over $12,000 to Democratss this cycle, and a bit over $10,000 to Republicans. I do not think in the end, that we have to exactly balance the amounts. Sad to say, but one party has become better than the other in the last few years on israel.
Two Democratic members of Congress stand out for having the courage to push back against Obama's pressure on Israel- Shelley Berkley of Nevada, , to whom we have already given this cycle and Eliot Engel of New York, who deserves support. . Steny Hoyer, Democrat of Maryland , has also been good.