While the entire news media was focused on Wisconsin, Republican voters in the newly redistricted 9th congressional district of New Jersey nominated Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to face 8-term incumbent Bill Pascrell in November's general election.
Pascrell defeated Steve Rothman, who represents the current 9th district in the House of Representatives. Pascrell currently represents the 8th district.
Rabbi Shmuley is considered to be a very influential figure in the Jewish community, having written over twenty books and starring on radio and television. His show Shalom in the Home aired on TLC for two seasons.
At times, Boteach has been at odds with conservative Jews, as he supports civil unions for same-sex couples and talks openly about sexuality in his books.
His most recent book, Kosher Jesus, drew ire from critics in the Jewish community, because the book explores the idea that believing in Jesus and Judaism do not have to be mutually exclusive ideas.
Pascrell, on the other hand, is supported heavily by the local Muslim figures and has close ties to the American Muslim Union. The AMU has called for the end of aid to Israel and some of its leaders have condoned Hamas.
To be fair, Pascrell routinely votes for aid to Israel, but then again not doing so would be political suicide.
Rep. Pascrell did however sign the "Gaza 54" letter which basically accused Israel of punishing the citizens of Gaza. The letter was signed by 54 members of Congress and sent to President Obama. You can read it here.
This race will be a good one to watch. To my knowledge there we have never have a member of Congress who was a rabbi. Pascrell's ties to radical Islam are relevant to this election, and not because his opponent is Jewish.
Who candidates have as their backers is a good indicator of how they will govern once in office. I'm not sure we need a Congressman who is backed by a terrorist-sympathizing organization.