California congressional hopeful Greg Raths (R.) is poised to lose his primary bid against Rep. Young Kim after the Washington Free Beacon unearthed an anti-Semitic rant that saw Raths accuse the "Jewish community" of using money to "control" politicians.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Raths trails Kim by 10 points with approximately 62 percent of the vote recorded. While the race hasn't been called, Raths acknowledged his loss on Facebook—when a follower asked him if he won the race, Raths replied, "no." Democrat Asif Mahmood, meanwhile, leads Kim by 5 points, meaning the pair is set to face off in November. In California's jungle primary system, the top two vote-getters advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation.
Raths's loss comes less than two weeks after the Free Beacon exposed anti-Semitic comments the Republican made at a May 20 Orange County Islamic Foundation candidate forum. During that event, Raths claimed U.S. support for Israel is bought and paid for by the "Jewish community" and called for the government to "rein in" U.S. foreign aid to the Jewish state, a position he said he can support because he hasn't taken "one dime" from the Jews.
"That's the problem. Israeli PAC in Washington, they got money and they control a lot of these politicians. And the other side, the Palestinians, they don't have the clout. So these politicians go where the money is, unfortunately," Raths said. "That's why the foreign aid is so large going to Israel. … The Jewish community has never given me one dime, so I'm not beholden to them at all."
Raths's comments—as well as his bungled response—almost certainly led to his campaign's demise. Raths quickly apologized following the Free Beacon‘s report, though that apology came as he simultaneously liked a number of tweets defending his remarks, including one that said the "Canaanites fear our uprising." When a prominent Jewish ally, Mission Viejo city councilman Ed Sachs (R.), later called Raths to pull his endorsement, the congressional hopeful "became totally defensive," according to Jewish Insider.
"He was like, ‘A rabbi endorsed me,' or ‘A rabbi and I serve hot meals together,' or, ‘I know a rabbi.' OK, well, mazel tov," Sachs told the outlet. "That doesn't move anything from your comments about ‘Jews give money to politicians, ergo they control politicians who give more money to Israel, and no money to the country of Palestine.' That is just abrasively ignorant."
Raths also misrepresented his own comments in an interview with the Insider, during which the Republican insisted that during the May forum he praised the Jewish community. He did not. When the New York Post covered his remarks, Raths provided a similarly bizarre response, saying he's "totally not anti-Semitic" because his "brother is Jewish."
"I didn't mean control as in ‘do as I say because we give you all this money,'" Raths added. "No they don't control, maybe some do."
Much like his response to his anti-Semitic comments, Raths flip-flopped on his Wednesday morning concession. Roughly half an hour after Raths said he lost the race, the Republican issued a new post saying his "race has not been called yet with thousands of votes left to be counted." Raths did, however, note that "as of this time we are trailing."
Kim is now the favorite in her general election battle against Mahmood, as California's new congressional maps made the 40th district more solidly red. The Republican in November called America's relationship with Israel "very, very important."