Summer Lee, progressive opposed by AIPAC funding, appears to win Penn. House seat

AIPAC has said progressive Democrat Summer Lee held “dangerous views of the US-Israel alliance.”

 Democratic U.S. Rep. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, appears in an undated handout photo provided October 11, 2022. (photo credit: Summer Lee/Handout via REUTERS)
Democratic U.S. Rep. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, appears in an undated handout photo provided October 11, 2022.
(photo credit: Summer Lee/Handout via REUTERS)

Summer Lee, a progressive Democrat House candidate in Pennsylvania who was opposed by pro-Israel lobbying giant AIPAC, was projected to handily beat her Republican opponent Mike Doyle in the Pittsburgh-area 12th Congressional district, in the midterm election’s only major test of pro-Israel outside campaign spending. 

Lee held more than 58% of the vote with 74%of votes reported, and most major outlets called the race for her in a district that had been heavily favored Democratic.

Lee was the only candidate in the midterm general election to draw oppositional spending from United Democracy Project, a political action committee affiliated with AIPAC; they spent around $1 million in an attempt to oppose her, a move that drew ire from progressive Democrats. The PAC had spent handily in various primary races to back their preferred pro-Israel candidates, mostly in Democrat-on-Democrat races, but it had largely refrained from spending in the general, with Lee’s case being a major exception.

Lee did not make Israel a central issue during her campaign and has said she would defend its status as a Jewish state, but she had authored tweets comparing Israel to George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. AIPAC said she held “dangerous views of the US-Israel alliance.”

 SENATE MAJORITY Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York), serving at the time as minority leader, speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, 2020. (credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS) SENATE MAJORITY Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York), serving at the time as minority leader, speaks at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, 2020. (credit: TOM BRENNER/REUTERS)

The editor of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle said that the paper had tried numerous times to obtain a sit-down interview with Lee but were ultimately only sent written answers to their questions.