Local Republican with ties to Shalhevet will probably run again

DEBATE: Elan Carr, left, debated Ted Lieu at Beth Jacob Oct. 28. Mr. Lieu is now congressman-elect.

Ezra Fax

DEBATE: Elan Carr, left, debated Ted Lieu at Beth Jacob Oct. 28. Mr. Lieu is now congressman-elect.

By Mark Miller, Staff Writer

Elan Carr, a prosecutor and Republican with strong ties to Israel, the Jewish community and Shalhevet, lost the election for the overwhelmingly Democratic 33rd Congressional district of California. But he wants to stay in politics and will likely run for office again.

A U.S. Army veteran now serving in the reserves, Mr. Carr currently works as a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney. His campaign emphasized moderate positions and strong ties to Israel, and he likely succeeded in attracting Jewish voters in a district that includes important Jewish neighborhoods.

Mr. Carr belongs to several synagogues in Los Angeles, including Beth Jacob and B’nai David, and he has often shared his experiences with Shalhevet students, partly because he’s known school founders Jerry and Jean Friedman for many years. When he returned from serving in Iraq, they invited him to speak at Town Hall, where he described lighting Chanukah candles in a palace formerly home to Saddam Hussein.

He is also a past president of AEPI, the largest Jewish fraternity in the U.S., and has spoken at Shalhevet about the fraternity.

During a debate at Beth Jacob Oct. 28 against Democrat Ted Lieu, Mr. Carr said that if elected, he would focus mainly on Israel and education.

“I am deeply concerned with the precarious position that Israel is in,” Mr. Carr said. Calling Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capability “the greatest threat facing us,” he added, “I would force those centrifuges to be destroyed.”

He also said Congress needs new leadership to establish a stronger relationship with Israel, and that his own background would make him the person to do that.

His mother and father migrated to Israel from Iraq and Hungary, respectively, and later moved to the U.S.  And in 1996, he helped the Israeli government establish its first-ever public defender’s office.

“I grew up speaking Hebrew,” said Mr. Carr. “I grew up in an Israeli home.”

After finishing UC Berkeley and then earning his J.D. at Northwestern University Law School, Mr. Carr joined the U.S. Army in 2001 and volunteered to be deployed to Iraq in 2003. There he led an anti-terrorism team, and also helped local officials set up a new legal system for the country in the first months after Saddam was overthrown.

“Leading an anti-terrorism team … I saw up close and personal the dangers facing Israel and the United States from terrorism in the Middle East,” he said in the debate. “I have the background that no member of Congress has, and my aim will be to become a leader of the U.S.-Israel relationship in Congress.”

Mr. Carr also said that he hoped to address problems in both public and private school education.

If elected, Mr. Carr would have joined a Republican caucus led by speaker John Boehner and influenced by the Tea Party, whose views are much more conservative than his own. He said in an interview with the Boiling Point before the election that if elected, he would not be afraid to oppose them on issues such as immigration.

“Let’s take one: pathway to legalized status for undocumented residents in this country who are decent law-abiding patriotic people,” Mr. Carr said. “That’s not popular with my party. I don’t give a damn. I’m going to fight for it because I believe that’s right. I’m not going to sacrifice my principle to get a committee assignment.”

California’s 33rd Congressional District is the second wealthiest congressional district per capita in the country, with a mean household income of $142,687 according to the U.S. Census. Bureau. The district extends from Palos Verdes to Malibu, and includes Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Ray, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills.

It’s also strongly Democratic, with 44 percent Democratic registration, 28 percent Republican and the rest independent, according to the Secretary of State website.  Mr. Carr ended up with 41 percent of the vote to 59 percent for Mr. Lieu, who is now the Representative-elect.

Precinct-by –precinct vote totals will not be available from the Los Angeles County Clerk until January, so it’s too soon to say whether many Jewish neighborhoods in the 33rd district may have helped Mr. Carr. Also, Beverlywood is not included because the district starts north of Whitworth Avenue, at the south edge of Beverly Hills.

Still, the 33rd congressional district includes areas with large Jewish populations, including the Fairfax – La Brea area, Hancock Park and Beverly Hills.

Mr. Carr attributed his loss to his race opponent’s victories in key areas such as Santa Monica but maintains that he could have won with better resources. When asked during the interview whether he would consider running for a political position again, he responded affirmatively.

“The answer is yes,” Mr. Carr said. “I won’t run for something for the sake of running. I entered this race because it would have given me the chance to make a substantial impact on my country and Israel.”