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Pro-Israel PAC endorses six Dems, including ‘Squad’ members opponents

DMFI PAC spent almost as much space denouncing Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush as it did praising its endorsees.

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.
U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Credit: Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock.

The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC endorsed six Democrats on Wednesday. It mentioned Laura Gillen, State Sen. Tim Kennedy, Josh Riley and Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.)—all running for New York congressional seats—in passing.

Instead, it dwelled on Westchester County executive George Latimer, who is running for a New York seat, and St. Louis county prosecutor Wesley Bell, who is running for a seat in Missouri, as the two are challenging members of the so-called “Squad.”

Latimer is “a proud pro-Israel Democrat whose impressive record of public service and results-oriented leadership is respected throughout New York,” stated Mark Mellman, chairman of DMFI PAC. (Mellman is also president of Democratic Majority for Israel.)

Mellman added that Bell “is a distinguished public servant, a social justice champion, and a proud pro-Israel Democrat who will work to find common-sense solutions and advance the Biden-Harris agenda in Congress.”

The statement devoted significant attention to Latimer’s and Bell’s opponents, so-called “Squad” members Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), with 13 bullet points about Bowman and eight about Bush.

Those included Bowman “skipping vigils in his district held for those killed, injured and captured during Hamas’s brutal attacks on Oct. 7 but attending a ceasefire vigil in front of the White House on Nov. 29” and Bush “falsely calling Israel an apartheid state.”

Latimer has raised about $1.43 million so far, compared to about $1.39 million for Bowman, per the most recent Federal Election Commission data, which runs through Dec. 31. Latimer had about $1.3 million cash on hand, compared to about $630,000 for Bowman.

On Wednesday, the New York Post reported Latimer leads Bowman by 17 points (52% to 35%), according to a new poll conducted by Mellman, the DMFI PAC chair. The gap widened among Democrats who have voted in three of the last four primaries (56% to 35%) and who say they know both candidates (60% to 34%).

“A major problem for Bowman is that Latimer has a far better image among voters than the incumbent, who has been damaged by his self-inflicted actions and rhetoric,” the Post reported. “The job performance of Latimer, 70, who has held various offices in Westchester since the late 1980s, is viewed positively by 68% of Democrats in the district while only 18% view him negatively.”

“In comparison, only 36% of respondents had a positive view of Bowman’s work in Congress while 55% have a negative view,” it added.

Bush (about $925,000) outraised Bell (about $775,000) by Dec. 31, with Bell (about $410,000) having about twice as much cash on hand as Bush (about $215,000), per the FEC.

Two of the other DMFI PAC endorsees appeared to be outpacing their opponents and two appeared to be lagging.

Suozzi, who defeated Mazi Pilip in a special election on Feb. 13 for the seat vacated by disgraced Republican George Santos, has raised about $6.6 million, compared to about $2.9 million for Pilip, as of March 4.

Kennedy, as of Dec. 31, had raised nearly $745,000, with four other candidates having raised nothing.

Gillen and Riley lagged behind their Republican incumbent opponents. The former raised about $785,000 by Dec. 31, well behind the nearly $2 million raised by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.). The latter’s funds were less than the early $2.2 million for Rep. Marcus Molinaro (R-N.Y.).

“Israel policy is rarely among the most salient issues in a political campaign, but given the Hamas terrorist attacks of Oct. 7 and press coverage of the ensuing war, it’s on much more people’s radar,” Rachel Rosen, chief communications officer at DMFI PAC, told JNS.

“Unlike Reps. Bowman and Bush, a majority of Democrats in their districts approve of President Biden’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas and voters in both districts want the U.S. to support Israel over Hamas by large margins,” Rosen said.

“It’s not just Israel issues where Bowman and Bush are out of step with their constituents. They face headwinds with their constituents for opposing important elements of the Biden-Harris Democratic agenda,” she added. “If Bowman and Bush lose their primaries, it will underscore how out of touch they are with their constituents on a number of key issues.”

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