Were alleged antisemitic attacks effective?
In the final weeks of the midterm election campaign, Democratic candidates in six states were targeted in campaign ads by their Republican opponents, in alleged antisemitic attacks. Many saw the ads as echoing antisemitic tropes.
The attacks mostly involved pictures of Jewish candidates clutching money – a common antisemitic association – and were denounced and debated. But were they effective?
Kim Schrier, Washington, House
The Washington state Republican Party sent out fliers showing Schrier, who ran in the eighth district, holding a wad of cash. With 64% of precincts in favor, Schrier held a nearly six-point lead over Republican Dino Rossi.
Dan Feehan, Minnesota, House
The National Republican Congressional Committee ran ads claiming Feehan, who is hoping to flip the state’s first district, is a tool of Jewish financier George Soros, a leading liberal donor. Soros is shown in the ad behind piles of cash. Feehan lost.
Matt Lesser, Connecticut, Senate
Ed Charamut, Lesser’s Republican opponent, sent a mailer showing Lesser grinning while clutching a handful of $100 bills. The mailer went out on October 30, three days after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 worshipers dead. Charamut at first claimed the mailer was not antisemitic, but later his campaign apologized. Lesser won.
Jesse Kiehl, Alaska, Senate
An ad targeted Kiehl, which was run by the Republican Women of Juneau showed a man stuffing a wad of cash into his pocket. Kiehl beat his opponent, Dan Etheridge.
Josh Lowenthal, California, State Assembly
Tyler Diep, Lowenthal’s Republican opponent, sent out a mailer showing Lowenthal grinning while clutching dollar bills. The ad accuses Lowenthal of putting people at risk “just so he could make a quick buck.” Lowenthal lost.
Sara Johnson Rothman, Pennsylvania, State House
Incumbent State Rep. Todd Stephens, a Republican, ran a TV ad showing Johnson Rothman holding a wad of cash. Rothman’s husband is Jewish, and the ad dropped her maiden name, even though she routinely uses it. Rothman narrowly lost to Stephens.