By Andrew Lapin
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.”
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.