NPR logo Minn. Senate Seat Is Tied For Longest Jewish Victory Streak

Minn. Senate Seat Is Tied For Longest Jewish Victory Streak

A question from David Ray of Annandale, Va.:

A Jewish candidate has won one of Minnesota's U.S. Senate seats six elections in a row — Rudy Boschwitz (R) in 1978 and 1984, Paul Wellstone (D) in 1990 and 1996, Norm Coleman (R) in 2002, and Al Franken (D) in 2008. Is this the longest such streak of Jewish candidates winning one Senate seat since the direct election of senators?

Actually, two other states have had a six-in-a-row victory streak for Jewish candidates in one Senate seat.

New York started it with Herbert Lehman (D) in a special 1949 election. He was re-elected in 1950, and was succeeded in 1956 by Jacob Javits (R), who was re-elected in 1962, '68 and '74.

The other one is current, and it's held by one person. Michigan's Carl Levin (D) was first elected in 1978 and re-elected five times: in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008.

What's most interesting about Minnesota sharing the record is that in three of these races — 1990 and '96 (Wellstone vs. Boschwitz) and 2008 (Franken vs. Coleman), Jewish candidates ran against each other. Not bad for a state whose total Jewish population is 46,685 out of 5,132,799 — 0.9 percent. (The national average is 2.2 percent.)