Newark Mayor Cory Booker is drawing on a 20-year connection with the Jewish community to significantly boost his Senate campaign to fill the seat of the late Frank Lautenberg.
According to The Wall Street Journal,
the black Christian Democrat has immersed himself in Jewish culture and serious Judaic study for two decades, starting in his days at Oxford University.
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Now he's tapping on his relationships with prominent New Jersey Jewish leaders to pull in thousands of dollars in campaign funds since January, including almost $120,000 from the pro-Israel NORPAC.
"He could put many of us to shame," Lori Klinghoffer, president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, said of Booker's knowledge of the Jewish faith, according to the Journal.
Newark once was home to tens of thousands of Jews, another link Booker has with the community. All of Booker's opponents have reached out to the Jewish community to snag their own endorsements.
Lautenberg was Jewish. His wife and children have been vocal critics of Booker's outreach to Jews, and have endorsed Rep. Frank Pallone in the Aug. 13 Democratic primary.
"With Cory Booker, he's a very good speaker and a very good salesman," Josh Lautenberg, the late senator's son, told the Journal. "I don't feel like Cory Booker is authentic in what he's selling."
Jews represent a significant portion of New Jersey voters and donors, particularly in low- turnout races like the upcoming special general election in October. New Jersey and New York both have about a 6 percent Jewish population, the highest in the country, a 2007 Pew Forum study found, according to the Journal.
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