Hillary Clinton Takes Jewish Vote in New York Primaries

In Brooklyn's Borough Park, Sanders lost to Clinton with 39 percent of the Democratic Orthodox Jewish vote, while Cruz beat Trump with 57 percent.

Hillary Clinton reacts on stage during an election night party in New York, April 19, 2016.
Hillary Clinton reacts on stage during an election night party in New York, April 19, 2016. John Taggart, Bloomberg

This article was originally published on Jewish Insider. 

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton scored massive wins in their home state of New York in Tuesday’s presidential primary.

In the Republican primary, Trump carried New York with 60 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. John Kasich came in second with 25 percent of the overall vote count, while Cruz got only 14.5 percent.

Trump’s stunning state victory will grant him at least 89 of the 95 delegates up for grabs, after hitting 50 percent of the statewide vote and getting a majority in almost each of New York’s 27 congressional districts.

“We are really, really rocking,” a victorious Trump declared in a short 10-minute victory speech at Trump Tower, in what was initially billed as a press conference. ”We’re going to end at a very high level and get a lot more delegates than anybody projected in their wildest imaginations.”

Cruz’s best showing was in Borough Park – home of the largest Orthodox Jewish community – with 57 percent of the vote to Trump 38 percent. John Kasich, who visited a matzah bakery, bookstore, and a school in Borough Park last week, got only 6 percent of the vote. Cruz’s share of the vote in Borough Park, as well as Kasich’s strong showing in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side, kept Trump below 50 percent in the 10th congressional district. But it was Kasich who earned the extra delegate, not Cruz.

Trump lost to Kasich in his own district – the borough of Manhattan – by less than a thousand votes (45.2 percent vs. 41.8 percent). Kasich also edged Trump in the 12th congressional district, where Trump resides in (44.4 percent vs. 40 percent).

Trump took Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island – home of the Russian-speaking community – by storm with almost 80 percent of the vote.

Efraim Haimowitz, a Brooklyn resident, said he voted for Trump because “he’s been a friend of the Jewish people, and very good for America. He’s like us. He wants to do good; do good for the country, and do good for Israel.”

Moshe, a resident of the Lower East Side, who, like many Orthodox Jewish voters, did not want to identify himself by his surname, said he voted for Cruz because “he’s the most conservative, and has been the most pro-Israel candidate in the race.”

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton beat her rival Bernie Sanders by 16 points – 58 percent vs. 42 percent. Clinton defeated Sanders in Midwood, where he grew up and lived for the first 18 years of his life, by 13 points. In fact, Clinton bested Sanders in the ED (election district) of his childhood home by a 2 to 1 margin, according to community activist Kalman Yeger.

“You know, we started this race not far from here on Roosevelt Island,” Clinton told her cheering supporters at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. 
“Pledging to build on the progressive tradition that’s done so much for America, from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. And tonight, a little less than a year later, the race for the nomination is in the home stretch and victory is in sight.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo celebrated the diversity of the state as he introduced the Democratic presidential front-runner.

“We love the fact that we’re black and brown and Asian. We love that we’re gay and straight. We love that we’re Christian and Jewish and Muslim. We love that we’re all together,” Cuomo said. “That’s who we are.”

Jewish voters made up between ten to twelve percent of the electorate, according to exit polls. In the 10th congressional district – the largest Jewish district in the nation represented by Congressman Jerry Nadler – Clinton beat Sanders by a 66-34 percentage point margin.

The former Secretary of State also won Borough Park with 61 percent of the vote. Sanders got 39 percent of the Orthodox Jewish vote. After Clinton’s victory speech in Manhattan, Jewish Insider overheard telling Councilman David Greenfield on the rope line, “Thanks for taking such good care of John Podesta in Borough Park.” As first reported by Jewish Insider, Clinton’s campaign chair met with two dozen Orthodox Jewish community leaders last Wednesday.

“Clinton’s margin of victory in Jewish communities across NYC will not go unnoticed at the highest levels of the Clinton campaign and the DNC,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group. “This might be the catalyst for a rapprochement between the Orthodox communities and the national Democratic party which has seen an erosion in support of national Democrats.”

The Clinton campaign invested a limited amount of resources in outreach to the Jewish community. But it was also Sanders’ recent comments on Israel that helped drive up Jewish support for Clinton.

“Many Orthodox Jewish Democrats were previously indifferent or even negative towards Hillary Clinton. After weeks that saw misinformed anti-Israel comments by Sanders, the hiring of a radical leftist as the campaign’s Jewish outreach director, and the doubling down on Israel at the debate in Brooklyn, we felt that it was imperative‎ to go out and inform voters that a vote for Bernie Sanders was a dangerous mistake,” said Chaskel Bennett, a community activist and board member of Agudath Israel of America. “With the help of a few activists, our local elected officials, and the non-stop criticism of Israel by Sanders himself, our ‘Stop the Bern’ effort did its part to send Sanders away with a resounding defeat.”

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