(POLITICO) – The dream of a Jewish Republican speaker of the House is no more.
With House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s startling ouster in a primary election this week, the man who was on a track to be the highest-ranking Jewish official in American history now appears consigned to the status of a “Jeopardy” answer. His defeat has left Jewish organizations in both parties reeling, especially the GOP’s long-suffering Jewish coalition groups.
Cantor was – and for now, remains – the No. 2 Republican in a conference of 233 lawmakers. But for Jewish Republicans, Cantor is a singular figure, the only Jewish member of the House majority and the lone Jewish leader in a party that has strenuously courted the community in recent presidential elections, to little avail.
Now, with Cantor’s defeat, there’s no longer a point man to help organize trips to Israel for junior GOP lawmakers, as Cantor routinely did. Jewish nonprofits and advocacy groups have no other natural person in leadership to look to for a sympathetic ear. No other Republican lawmaker can claim to have precisely the same relationship with gaming billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a primary benefactor of both the Republican Party and the Republican Jewish Coalition.