One of the problems challengers in the NYC area have is getting their message out in one of the most expensive media markets in the world. It's hard to get attention.

I suspect this will, though: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the former Republican who brought the '04 Bush-nominating Republican Convention to New York before leaving his party to become an independent, is going the rest of the way across the aisle - and the Hudson River - to endorse NJ Democratic House candidate Dennis Shulman against a Republican incumbent


Bloomberg to Endorse Dennis Shulman's Congressional Campaign

WHAT: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will announce his endorsement of Dennis Shulman's campaign for New Jersey's Fifth District Congressional Seat. Bloomberg, who was elected mayor as a Republican and is now a registered Independent, will join Shulman on a telephone press conference on Tuesday at 9AM.

While I don't doubt that a really staggeringly bad performance (both as a congressman and a candidate)* by Shulman's opponent had a fair amount to do with this, there's a great deal to like about Dennis Shulman.

Throughout American history, the number of blind rabbis serving in Congress has remained steady at zero. In a cluttered campaign office next to the Naturoll sushi takeout in Haworth, New Jersey, Dennis Shulman is trying to change that...

Shulman graduated from Brandeis in 1972, and four years later he got a doctorate in clinical psychology from Harvard. His wife, Pam, was in medical school in New York, and eventually they set up practices in the city, hers as an obstetrician and his as a therapist to adults and couples. In 1981, they moved to New Jersey, where they raised two daughters, one of whom now works in Texas politics. “When I was in college, I thought I was going to be a rabbi when I grew up, but I had a spiritual crisis in my freshman year, when my high-school girlfriend died of leukemia,” Shulman said. “But the feeling never disappeared, and about ten or fifteen years ago I started giving lectures to psychoanalysts about Bible stories, starting with Abraham and Isaac. My friends could see before I could that I was heading back to my old ambition.” Ordained in 2003, Shulman conducts services every Saturday before a small congregation in the town of Alpine.

Even with two careers, he was restless. While teaching a course on the theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel, he became haunted by Heschel’s remark “To speak about God and remain silent on Vietnam is blasphemous.” “I read that and said, ‘Oh, shit, I have to run for office,’ ” Shulman recalled. “Besides, my wife was sick of me almost throwing my shoe at the television.”

Rabbi Shulman also has the NY Times endorsement,** and he seems to have made a pretty good impression on folks around here when he came by to visit as a guest of Blue America last year. He's recently been added to the DCCC's Red to Blue program.

You can donate to Dennis Shulman here.

After all, how could you not want to help this guy?

'r. Shulman also figures that having David A. Paterson as governor of New York could help people feel comfortable with his candidacy.

“He’s been very supportive,” the rabbi said. “When I won the primary, he called to support me, and we agreed that blindness is the new gay.”

A bit more about Mr. Garrett ... from the Bergen Record:

"In a nasty campaign season, Garrett hasn't just crossed a line; he climbed in a tank and rolled over most levels of decency.

"Last week, Garrett mailed a campaign piece tying his Democratic challenger, Dennis Shulman, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Shulman is a rabbi. To suggest that a rabbi is going to walk hand in hand with someone who would advocate for the destruction of Israel is shameless and despicable. It's also desperate."


"In a Garrett commercial I watched on the Internet, the congressman claims Shulman is too extreme for New Jersey, showing images of Ahmadinejad and Shulman simultaneously. Garrett asks, "What do voters know about Dennis Shulman?"

"Maybe not enough.

"But based on this hate campaign, voters also should ask what they know about Scott Garrett.

"Maybe too much."

Garrett's voting record is here, and some information about what he accomplished as a champion of deregulation on the House Financial Services Committee is here.