Who are the Republican candidates Jewish donors

Election Day is 19 months away, but the campaign already has begun. Aside from Democrat Hillary Clinton, three Republican candidates with reasonable chances at the nomination have declared and several others are on the cusp.

The Republican Party says it’s been making inroads with Jewish voters, who traditionally have favored Democrats by 2-to-1 margins.

Here’s a rundown of the views of three declared Republican candidates, and two likely candidates, on issues of Jewish interest, and their connections to the community.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Age: 43

Campaign status: Declared candidate

Marco Rubio

His Jews: A principal backer is Norman Braman, a car dealership magnate who moved to Florida in 1994 after selling his stake in the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. A past president of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Braman has been close with Rubio since his meteoric rise through the Florida Legislature. Braman accompanied Rubio to Israel in 2010, just after his election to the Senate. Rubio’s ties to the broader Jewish community also extend back to his career in the Florida state legislature, and communal professionals credit him with being accessible.

His views: Rubio has blasted President Barack Obama on Israel, saying in his April 13 campaign launch that the administration bears “hostility” toward Israel. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu de-manded recognition of Israel as part of a final Iran nuclear deal, Rubio was quick to propose the demand as an amendment to a bill requiring con-gressional review of any Iran deal. He withdrew the amendment on April 14, the day the Senate Foreign Relations Committee considered the broader bill, which ultimately passed unanimously.

Similar back-and-forth characterizes his immigration record. Rubio helped shepherd comprehensive immigration reform through the Senate in 2013, but after it failed in the House of Represent-atives, Rubio retreated to more hawkish positions popular with the Repub-lican base, including tougher border security.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Age: 44

Campaign status: Declared candidate

Ted Cruz

His Jews: Last year, Cruz tapped Nicolas Muzin, a soft-spoken Orthodox Jew from South Carolina, as an adviser. Muzin has introduced Cruz to Orthodox Jewish funders, including telecommunications and energy magnate Howard Jonas, and staged events for him in fancy kosher eateries like Abigael’s on Broadway.

His views: Cruz talks a hard line on Israel, aligning himself with some of the Obama administration’s harshest critics. After Rabbi Shmuley Boteach advertised an upcoming panel discussion on Obama’s Iran policy in March with an ad that seemed to link National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the genocide in Rwanda, one of the featured speakers, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), dropped out, saying Boteach had crossed a line. Cruz, also a featured speaker, stayed in.

Cruz accused the Obama administration of playing politics with the Federal Aviation Authority during last year’s Gaza War, when the FAA stopped flights to Tel Aviv for a day or so because rockets had struck near the airport.

Cruz shares with Rubio a biography of being born to Cuban refugees from the Castro regime. Unlike Rubio, he has maintained a consistently tough line on immigration.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Age: 52

Campaign status: Declared candidate

Rand Paul

His Jews: Paul has cultivated Richard Roberts, an Orthodox Jew and major New Jersey philanthropist. In 2013, Roberts helped fund a tour of Israel for Paul and evangelical Christians.

His views: Paul’s father is the former Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican who ran several times for president on a libertarian platform that included cutting off aid to Israel. The elder Paul also was notorious for his broadsides against the pro-Israel community, and news-letters published under his name veered into anti-Semitism, although he has denied authoring the content.

When Rand Paul ran for Senate in 2010, he would not return calls from Kentucky Jewish leaders asking for a meeting. At first, Paul seemed to mirror his father’s positions, telling CNN in an interview that he would include Israel in his pledge to cut off all foreign assistance. Since then, Paul has been more open to Jewish outreach and has visited Israel. Republican Jews like to say his views on Israel have “evolved”; he still counsels cuts in foreign assistance, but adds that these should be prioritized, with countries he deems hostile to U.S. interests first on the list.

Paul counts Israel as a close U.S. ally, and the sole focus of the Israel page on his campaign website is his bill to cut assistance to the Palestinian Authority precisely because of its parlous relations with Israel. (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, notably, does not support the bill.)

Pro-Israel groups remain wary of Paul in part because he is one of two Republicans in the Senate who will not back bills seeking greater congressional involvement in the Iran nuclear talks. The other is Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Age: 47

Campaign status: Likely candidate

Scott Walker

His Jews: Walker has yet to declare, but if and when he does, philanthropist Richard Roberts will probably dump Paul and move into Walker’s camp. Walker has also been backed  by Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican Jewish kingmaker.

His views: Walker has earned his conservative chops principally based on his record as a governor facing down unions in a liberal state. He now wants to burnish his foreign policy credentials and says he wants to travel to Israel soon. His criticisms of how Obama has handled the Israel relationship and the Iran nuclear talks have been pointed in their language but vague in particulars.

On immigration, Walker has backed reforms that include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, but more recently his focus has been on seeking to dismantle Obama’s executive orders that would provide such a path.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

Age: 62

Campaign status: Likely candidate

Scott Walker

His Jews: Bush has been able to tap into a broad network of fundraisers who were loyal to the presidencies of his brother George W. and his father, George H.W. Among the former are Mel Sembler, a shopping mall magnate in Florida who backed Bush during his gubernatorial runs. In New York, equity billionaire Henry Kravis hosted a lucrative evening for Bush in February.

Bush also has his brother’s Jewish Cabinet members on his foreign policy team, including Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary, and Michael Mukasey, the ex-attorney general who has been notable in his post-Bush career for his strident criticism of what he calls the spread of radical Islam.

Bush’s rivalry with his one-time protégé Rubio has put him in an odd position: He has the enthusiastic backing of some prominent Jewish GOP backers, like Sembler and Kravis, while others, like Adelson and Rubio’s backer Braman are lining up to keep him from winning the GOP nod.

His views: Bush has been critical of how Obama has handled nuclear talks with Iran, blaming him for allowing differences with Israel over the talks to spill out into the open. He has visited Israel five times.

On immigration, Bush, who speaks fluent Spanish and whose wife, Columba, was born in Mexico, has been perhaps the most outspoken about embracing reform and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Ron Kampeas

JTA D.C. bureau chief