Midterms coming up, Jewish organizations working to 'get out of the vote'

The Republican Jewish Coalition, the Jewish Democratic Council of America, AIPAC-PAC and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC are a few of the organizations.

Matthew Brooks (R) and Halie Soifer (C) speaking at AJC's global forum plenary session, June 2019 (photo credit: MARTIN SIMON)
Matthew Brooks (R) and Halie Soifer (C) speaking at AJC's global forum plenary session, June 2019
(photo credit: MARTIN SIMON)

WASHINGTON – With the midterm elections just six weeks away, Jewish organizations are intensifying their efforts to get out the vote.

Republic Jewish Coalition

On Wednesday, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) Victory Fund announced a significant $450,000 independent expenditure, releasing TV ads targeting Democrat incumbent Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-08).

“All the polls suggest that the race is pretty much a dead heat, so it’s going to be one of those majority-making districts,” said Sam Markstein, RJC national political director.

Last month, the group announced it had spent $750,000 in the neighboring county, PA-07, where two Jewish candidates, Republican Lisa Scheller and incumbent Democrat Susan Wild, are running against each other.

COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections (credit: REUTERS)COLORADO RESIDENTS vote in the US midterm elections (credit: REUTERS)

“We are spending just over $2 million in independent expenditures and programming events around the country,” Markstein said.

Aside from placing significant TV ads across swing districts, the group also hosted several grassroots “get out the vote” events in the key battleground states.

“We did an event with [Sen. Marco] Rubio in Florida,” Markstein said. “We did an event with [Republican senatorial nominee Mehmet] Oz in Pennsylvania, and with [Republican senatorial nominee Herschel] Walker in Georgia.”

Additional plans include events in Texas, Nevada and Georgia for gubernatorial and Senate races, he said, adding: “We are doing a lot of in-person door-to-door, in-person events that I think will make a big difference in November.”

The group’s messaging this election is focused on inflation, crime and immigration, Markstein said.

“Folks, when they see these messages, they’ll understand because they feel it every day, whether it’s in their wallet or in their backyard or at the grocery store or at the gas station or every place else they go,” he said. “They see it every day, so I think the messages will resonate.”

Jewish Democratic Council of America

On the other side of the aisle, meanwhile, the Jewish Democratic Council of America (JDCA) is prioritizing several Senate seats. The Senate was given priority due to a large number of House races, “which makes it harder to prioritize the House,” JDCA CEO Halie Soifer said.

JDCA has endorsed candidates in 11 gubernatorial races, 20 Senate races and 84 House races – 115 endorsements so far, she said.

“Our focus in terms of where the PAC has spent so far is holding on to our Senate seats and trying to add additional seats to expand the majority,” Soifer said. “[We] have to hold on to the seats in Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire, and we are trying to flip at least one seat from the races in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio and Florida.”

“In the House, we are focused on those toss-up races where we know the Jewish vote will make a difference,” she said.

“We are confident the Jewish vote will continue to make a difference in these elections,” Soifer said. “What we know about Jewish voters is that the turnout is overwhelmingly Democrat, and they tend to live in swing states that will determine the majority in the Senate and the House.”

“As an example, in 2020, Joe Biden won by an Electoral College margin of just 113,000 votes,” she said. “When you look at Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia, in all of those states, the margin by which he won was exceeded by the Jewish democratic vote. When elections are this close, every key constituency matters, and that’s especially true with the Jewish vote.”

“We know the Senate races will be close, and they’re also states where the Jewish vote will make a difference,” Soifer said.

The group will invest close to $1m. in an ad campaign, she said.

“The top two issues for Jewish voters in this election are the future of our democracy and abortion rights,” Soifer said.

AIPAC-PAC

Another major player in this primary season has been the newly established AIPAC-PAC. The group endorsed some 340 candidates from both parties and was involved in House and Senate races in all 50 states. Although it was criticized for its decision to establish two new PACs that would allow the pro-Israel lobby to directly fund political campaigns, the group responded by saying the primary season was a success, with a vast majority of endorsees who won their primary bids.

The group is now expected to support some 300 candidates ahead of the midterms.

“Since it was created late last year, AIPAC-PAC has established itself as the largest pro-Israel political action committee and has made a critical difference supporting successful pro-Israel congressional candidates,” AIPAC spokesman Marshall Wittmann said.

“It has contributed to nearly 340 candidates, and its PAC portal has delivered millions of dollars given by AIPAC members in support of candidates,” he said. “Our affiliated Super PAC, United Democracy Project, has provided decisive support to pro-Israel candidates through independent expenditures in House primary races.”

“Our political activity is demonstrating that being pro-Israel is good policy and good politics, and it is strengthening the bipartisan pro-Israel coalition in Congress,” Wittmann said. “By supporting scores of pro-Israel progressive candidates running for Congress, it is being shown that it is completely consistent to be progressive and pro-Israel. We are continuing to review races and will engage where we see a clear opportunity to support pro-Israel candidates and defeat detractors of the US-Israel relationship.”

Democratic Majority for Israel PAC

Another group that is actively working to engage with Jewish voters ahead of the midterms is the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC. The group is involved in House and Senate races.

“We are focused on protecting and helping to elect pro-Israel Democratic champions,” DMFI PAC spokeswoman Rachel Rosen said.

DMFI PAC has endorsed 84 pro-Israel Democrats in November’s general election, with additional endorsements expected in the coming weeks, she said.

“We’re proud to have finished the primary season with 85% of our endorsees winning their races,” Rosen said. “What’s more, we successfully defended our champions and helped bring several new pro-Israel Democrats to Congress. We also stopped some of the harshest detractors of the US-Israel relationship. This primary season has shown time and again: Being pro-Israel is both wise policy and good politics.”•