With the campaign to succeed three-term mayor Michael Bloomberg heating up in New York City, one candidate running in the Democratic primary is attempting to forge an unlikely alliance amongst the city’s growing religious population.
Erick Salgado, 42, the pastor of Iglesia Jovenes Cristianos (Young Christian) Church in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, is attempting to bring together New York’s growing Evangelical Latino population and Orthodox Jewish community to support him in his race for mayor.
“One dark-horse candidate is being backed by an alliance made from an odd coupling of religious Jews and Evangelical Christian Latinos to support his socially conservative yet resolutely Democratic agenda,” write Colin Campbell and Hunter Walker for Politicker.
While Salgado is running as a Democrat who supports traditional liberal issues such as supporting immigrant reform, government assistance to needy families and environmental issues, according to his campaign website, he is also strongly anti-abortion and against gay marriage. His appeal to socially conservative religious groups might be part of a growing trend in America.
According to a survey by the Pew Research Center before the 2012 presidential election, only 50 percent of Latino Evangelicals supported President Barack Obama, a much lower total than that Latinos overall. Latino Evangelicals are also growing rapidly, according to the Economist; they comprise around 10 percent of an estimated 100 million American Evangelical Christians.
Meanwhile, the Jewish communities in places like New York City are growing again, largely thanks to the growth of Orthodox Jews. The Jewish population in New York City grew 9 percent over the last decade, with two-thirds of the growth coming from two Orthodox neighborhoods in Brooklyn, according to the New York Times.
In order to connect with the growing Orthodox Jewish community, Salgado has hired Gregory Davidzon, an influential Russian-Jewish media mogul and power broker.
Despite growing numbers in his favor, Pastor Salgado is still viewed as a longshot to become mayor.
“Welding those groups together to take back the Democratic Party for a socially conservative candidate will be tough going considering how much cultural power the left wields, but it might be interesting,” wrote Daniel Greenfield for Frontpage Magazine