U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, whose district in Manhattan and Brooklyn has one of the largest Jewish populations in the country, voted last year in support of the Iranian nuclear deal championed by President Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, nearly 10 months later, Mr. Nadler faces his first Democratic primary challenger in two decades. His opponent, political upstart Oliver Rosenberg, has placed Mr. Nadler’s support of the Iran deal at the center of the battle.
“Many people in the district felt betrayed,” Mr. Rosenberg, who worked as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. before launching a technology startup, said in an interview. “This is their opportunity to send a message.”
Mr. Nadler, who was first elected to the House in 1992, said he stood by his decision to support the Iran deal and didn’t believe it would cost him his party’s nomination.
“I do not regret that vote,” he said. “There are occasionally votes where you just have to put the politics out of your mind and do the right thing.”
The nuclear deal, which is intended to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons in exchange for relief on economic sanctions, is deeply unpopular among Jewish voters, especially those in the Orthodox community, who say the agreement will make Israel and the Middle East less safe.
Jewish voters make up a significant portion of New York’s 10th congressional district, which includes a largely Orthodox community in Brooklyn’s Borough Park and a more liberal Jewish bloc on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The district comprises much of Manhattan’s West Side and the Financial District.