The largest Jewish weekly publication in the U.S., the Jewish Press, just endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis over Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for Florida governor. In a close race, this really could matter.
As the race goes down to the wire, both campaigns have made overtures to South Florida’s relatively large population of Jewish voters. It is a small demographic to be sure — the Tampa Bay Times estimates there are roughly 630,000 Jewish Floridians. But it is a key demographic in a race that will likely be decided by the slimmest of margins.
Appealing to those voters, the Jewish Press points out that DeSantis opposed the Iranian nuclear deal and supported moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem:
He also plans to partner with Israel to clean up the pollution that plagues Florida’s coastal waters, taking advantage of Israel’s highly regarded expertise in that field. We are confident that as governor, he would use his ‘bully pulpit’ in support of Israel.
And the Jewish Press warns that Gillum is the opposite, invoking his support of the "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" movement against Israel:
Andrew Gillum, supports BDS and strongly opposed the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He was also a supporter of the Iran nuclear deal.
Perhaps most importantly, the endorsement comes to a candidate repeatedly accused of racism and comes just four days after the attack on a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Florida Jews — like Jews in most states — vote heavily Democratic. But if the race is tight, any uptick in the Jewish vote for a Republican like DeSantis could help determine the outcome, making the endorsement of the Jewish Press incredibly valuable.
Though the Jewish Press endorsed Trump for President in 2016 and Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012, it would be a mistake to dismiss the DeSantis endorsement as a partisan rubber stamp. The paper is bipartisan in their backing. This year, they have endorsed Rep. Grace Meng of New York, Rep. Joseph Crowley (also of New York), and Letitia James for that state's attorney general — all Democrats.
DeSantis is the only candidate outside of the Empire State who got a nod. If he wins, he will be glad he did.