WASHINGTON — Former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman took the helm of the Republican Jewish Coalition, the organization announced Friday afternoon.
“I could not be more proud of what we at the RJC have been able to accomplish over the past 10 years. Now with Republican control of the White House, the Senate, and the House, I can’t think of better circumstances in which to end my time as Chair,” said outgoing RJC Chairman David Flaum.
“I want to personally thank David for all of his hard work in building the RJC organization into what it is today. The best measurement of an organization’s success is the results that are reflected at the ballot box,” Coleman said in a statement. “Beyond a unified Republican government, this past election cycle, the RJC helped double the number of Republican Jewish voices in Congress. We also elected the first Jewish Republican Governor in Missouri.”
Coleman went on to say, “I am humbled to take the reins of this organization and to have the chance to build on the RJC’s success. The team our Executive Director, Matt Brooks has assembled is second to none, and I can confidently say this organization will have a more significant role than ever before in helping protect our majority in the House and expanding our majority in the Senate in 2018.”
Coleman, who represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate for one term before being defeated by Democrat Al Franken in 2009, is a lawyer and lobbyist.
Prior to running for Senate, Coleman was a moderate Democrat and mayor of St. Paul in the early 1990s. By 1996, he joined the Republican Party and won re-election for mayor in 1997.
After losing a race for governor against Jesse Ventura in 1998, he ran for Senate in 2002 against incumbent Democrat Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash just a few weeks before Election Day. Democrats replaced Wellstone with Walter Mondale, who Coleman narrowly defeated by more than 61,000 votes out of 2 million cast.
Coleman was the sole Jewish Republican senator until his defeat in 2009.