While Jews are a small percentage of the overall U.S. population, they hold political office in seemingly disproportionate numbers. There are 45 Jews in Congress. Both of California’s U.S. Senators are Jewish. In addition, Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill retiring Justice John Paul Stevens’ seat on the Supreme Court, would make it three — three women and three Jews on the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in its history.
Before Solicitor General Kagan goes through confirmation hearings and before anyone can take the oath of office, California will endure a contentious primary election on June 8. Voters are being treated to an onslaught of accusatory commercials, incessant telephone calls, and mailboxes chock full of literature. Meanwhile, we’ve identified some of the Jewish candidates and their opponents. May the best candidates win, and may you avoid the mud that many of the candidates are slinging.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, chief deputy whip of the Democratic majority, faces competition from twl Democrats — journalist Robert Kaus and businessman Brian Quintana. On the Republican side, she is being challenged by economist Tom Campbell, assembly member Chuck DeVore and businesspersons Carly Fiorina and Al Ramirez. Other contenders come from the American Independent Party, the Green Party, Libertarians, Independents, and the Peace and Freedom Party.
Sen. Boxer serves on the commerce, science, transportation, foreign relations, and environment and public works committees of the U.S. Senate. As chair of the latter, Sen. Boxer has championed environmental causes. She has also been a strong proponent of education and medical research.
A highly successful entrepreneur, Steve Poizner founded two successful technology companies in Silicon Valley. His last company, SnapTrack, pioneered the technology that put life-saving GPS receivers into 700 million cell phones around the world. Steve also founded and served as chief executive officer of Strategic Mapping Inc., a company that assists police departments, utilities and transportation companies with strategic planning and logistics. In 2006, Steve became one of only two Republicans elected statewide when he defeated Democratic Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante in the race for Insurance Commissioner.
“It is crystal clear that people are looking for problem solvers,” said Poizner, who is currently gaining on fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman in primary polls. “They don’t care about the party; they are looking for skills.”
A Certified Public Accountant and 14-year elected trustee of the South Orange County Community College District, David Lang is a candidate for the office of Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector in the primary election.
If elected as Orange County’s Treasurer, Lang said his top priority will be to focus on protecting the County’s assets and making sound decisions to ensure the rock solid financial condition of our County. He describes himself as “a principled leader with fiscally conservative investment values who believes in reducing the size of government and opposing tax increases.”
Lang emphasizes that he will invest the taxpayers’ money conservatively, avoiding the type of risky investments made by former and current treasurers. His opponents are Patrick Desmond, who listed his occupation as “Auditor/College Professor,” Shari Freidenrich, and Keith Rodenhuis.
Orange County Superior Court judge candidate and current Superior Court Commissioner Lon Hurwitz is a fourth generation native Californian whose family has been in Orange County since 1888. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Law. Lon started a private law practice in 1979 and has remained in Orange County as a lawyer, resident, and Judicial Officer ever since. He was elected to the position of Superior Court Commissioner by vote of the 109 Judges of the Orange County Superior Court.
Hurwitz was selected from 153 attorney applicants for the job. A Commissioner is a full time Judicial Officer who is elected by the Judges to perform Judge functions and duties when there are not enough authorizedJudge positions in the County to handle all of the work which the judges must do.
In his current assignment, where he presides in the dedicated Domestic Violence Court, he has heard and ruled in over 4,000 Domestic Violence hearings and over 5,000 requests for emergency temporary domestic violence and elder abuse restraining orders. Lon is currently the only Judicial Officer in Orange County assigned exclusively to hear only domestic violence cases.
Since becoming a Commissioner, Lon has sentenced over 7,000 criminal defendants for various crimes including first and second time drunk driving, drug possession and sale, assault, theft, and prostitution. Julian W. Bailey, is an attorney who divides his time between being a juvenile court referee and a criminal defense attorney, is Hurwitz’s sole opponent for Orange County Superior Court Judge, Office Number 50.
Beth Krom is running for U.S. Congress in the 48th District. First elected to the Irvine City Council in 2000, Krom was re-elected as the top vote-getter in 2002. In 2004, she won her first term as Mayor of Irvine and in 2006 she was re-elected with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Term limits prevented her from seeking a third term as mayor, but in 2008 she won a seat on the City Council.
An advocate for balanced planning, Krom has focused on ensuring a sustainable future for Irvine, a city that has been recognized as one of America’s “greenest” cities. She has served on numerous regional boards.
Krom’s opponent is incumbent Congressman John Campbell, a fourth-generation Californian, 30-year Irvine resident, and fiscal conservative who was elected to California State Assembly in 2000 and served two terms before being elected to the California State Senate in 2004. In December of 2005, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in a special election, and is currently serving his 3rd term there.