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    Paul Wellstone

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    July 21, 1944 – October 25, 2002

    Minnesota has had a number of Jewish senators, and even some Jew-vs-Jew elections. None were as prominent as 1990, when two-term incumbent Rudy Boschwitz faced off against college professor Paul Wellstone. (Yes, this is a profile of Wellstone. You can guess how that election went.)

    The election was highly contested, with Boschwitz having a late lead. To cement it, he sent a direct mail letter to Jewish households, titled "To Our Friends in the Minnesota Jewish Community." The letter claimed that Boschwitz was "the Rabbi of the Senate" with an "intense interest in all things Jewish." Wellstone, on the other hand, had "no connection whatsoever with the Jewish community or our communal life." He even had the gall to marry a shiksa! Basically, Boschwitz was a good Jew. Wellstone was a bad one.

    The letter backfired. The "bad" Jew ended up winning by three percentage points, with the letter cited as the deciding factor. Wellstone, despite the win, was saddened by how he was portrayed. "To me, being a Jew is a constant negotiation with G-d. And that hurt." (We couldn't agree more.)

    Wellstone ended up serving two terms in the Senate, defeating Boschwitz once again six years later. He even explored a run for President, before deciding to bail. His reasons? "I'm short, I'm Jewish and I'm a liberal."

    In our book, that's three for three!

    Verdict: Jew.

    March 27, 2019

    See Also

    Al Franken

    Frank Lautenberg

    Carl Levin

    Abraham Ribicoff

    Bernie Sanders
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2024.