In this edition: A primary day cheat sheet, GOP worries about political oppression, and a talk with the CEO of AIPAC.
The “Dark Brandon” meme got awful serious awful quickly, and this is the Trailer.
It's the story everyone in America woke up talking about: Voters going to the polls for four state primaries and one special congressional election. Here's what to watch:
7 p.m. Polls close across Vermont, where the state's sole U.S. House seat and one of its U.S. Senate seats are open for the first time since George W. Bush was president.
Both Democratic primaries have been molded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — not a member of the party, but a validator for the party's left. After Sanders endorsed Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to replace retiring Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), other potential candidates sat out the race. Brattleboro activist Isaac Evans-Frantz and emergency physician Niki Thran have run to Welch's left, with Evans-Frantz targeting Welch as “beholden to the corporate interests that dominate our national agenda.” National Democrats expect Welch to win easily.
An endorsement from Sanders helped state Sen. Becca Balint in her campaign to win the Democratic nomination to replace Welch; so did a serious spending investment from the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which hopes to make Balint the state's first openly gay member of Congress. Lt. Gov. Molly Gray, with a shorter political record and a campaign that portrayed her as a problem-solver, has trailed in polls; 13 years younger than Balint, she's run on “fresh energy” while the senator has run on her record. Either would be the first woman to represent Vermont in Washington. Ex-Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman, who lost the 2020 gubernatorial election by a landslide, faces three other Democrats in the race for his old job.
Gov. Phil Scott, the moderate Republican who steamrolled Zuckerman two years ago, faces only long-shot Democratic opposition in November, after another term where he signed off on some liberal priorities like abortion rights. In 2018, GOP challengers to Scott grabbed about a third of the primary vote; in 2020, they got a bit more than a quarter. He faces two primary challengers today. A better test of GOP voter attitudes might come in the U.S. Senate primary, where ex-U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan (who The Trailer interviewed last month) faces more conservative opponents.
In Burlington's Chittenden County, the race for state's attorney pits liberal incumbent Sarah George against Ted Kenney, a fellow Democrat endorsed by police unions and who has accused George of going soft on rising crime.
8 p.m. Polls close in Connecticut, where Republicans hope to break a 14-year losing streak and win at least one of five seats in the House. But that's in November. Today, their candidates in the targeted 3rd and 5th Congressional Districts have no challengers. Neither does Bob Stefanowski, a Republican businessman who's seeking a rematch with Gov. Ned Lamont (D). There's some competition in the GOP and Democratic primaries for Secretary of State, but no Republicans in that race have suggested that the 2020 election was stolen. as Republicans elsewhere have baselessly claimed; Dominic Rapini has only gone as far as saying the state needs to crack down harder on fraud.
There's a bigger debate happening in the GOP's U.S. Senate primary, where the state party is supporting ex-state legislative leader Themis Klarides and former president Donald Trump has endorsed RNC member Leora Levy. You know the drill by now — Levy, who supported Jeb Bush for president in 2016, is now a loyal Trump supporter, while Klarides has admitted that she cast a protest vote in 2020, not picking Trump or Biden. Democrats have a few intraparty ideological fights to settle, with party-backed Erick Russell facing Working Families Party-backed Karen DuBois-Walton in the race for treasurer, and antiabortion state Rep. Treneé McGee facing a long-shot challenge from a young party activist, Joseph Miller — who, as McGee puts it, is a “White man.”
9 p.m. Polls close in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the last Midwest swing states to pick their midterm nominees. In Wisconsin, Republicans allowed Trump to define the terms of their race for governor — Trump endorsed construction company owner Tim Michels over ex-Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and did so, in part, because Kleefisch's family remains friendly with the state Supreme Court swing voter who ruled against Trump's election lawsuits.
State Assembly member Tim Ramthun, the only GOP candidate who promises to decertify the 2020 election if he wins — a promise that is not possible to deliver on — has trailed in polls, but his numbers could prove decisive if the race between Michels and Kleefisch is close. Trump campaigned for Michels last week at a rally where the ex-judge running a probe of the election gave the invocation; former vice president Mike Pence has rallied with Kleefisch.
Trump also gave a last-minute boost to Adam Steen, a conservative activist challenging Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in his southeast Wisconsin primary. Vos easily fended off Steen at party caucuses earlier this year, but Trump has continued to demand that Vos — who hired Judge Michael Gableman for the aforementioned 2020 probe after Trump urged him to — find some way to decertify the election. In an interview with The Trailer earlier this year, Steen suggested that the “decertify” promise was a GOP litmus test.
Republicans also have contested races for attorney general, treasurer, and secretary of state; while the latter office does not have power over state elections, the GOP candidates running for it support dissolving the state's election commission, which angered Republicans by allowing temporary changes to voting go forward during the pandemic. There's not much competition between Democrats, especially after three challengers to Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes abandoned the field to endorse him. In the 3rd Congressional District, a Republican-trending part of western Wisconsin that Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) has won narrowly, the congressman is backing state Sen. Brad Pfaff over the field, while Republicans have rallied behind 2020 nominee Derrick Van Orden, who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in January 2021 but has said he didn't enter the U.S. Capitol afterward.
In Minnesota, Republicans expect to hold on to the 1st Congressional District with nominee Brad Finstad, a state representative who won a close primary for the right to replace the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R). (GOP jitters about the seat were mostly about Jennifer Carnahan, Hagedorn's widow and a former party chair who resigned under a storm of scandals. She lost the primary badly.) Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former Hormel CEO whose campaign has focused on his work with one of the district's big employers, is trying to beat the odds in a seat Trump carried by about 10 points. Despite that, Democrats nearly won this seat in 2020, when a candidate for the Legal Marijuana Now party split liberal votes; a different pro-legal marijuana party is on the ballot today.
Republicans, who haven't won a statewide race in Minnesota since 2006, are poised to nominate a conservative, pro-Trump ticket. Former state Sen. Scott Jensen has little competition in the race for governor, after sweeping opponents away at the party's convention; Doug Wardlow, who lost a 2018 race to Attorney Gen. Keith Ellison, is trying to get to a rematch. Both of the party's potential nominees for secretary of state insist falsely that the 2020 election was stolen, and Democratic Secretary of State Scott Simon has a gadfly primary opponent who says the same.
There's no primary competition for either party in the suburban 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts, both of which have remained contested in general elections since Democrats flipped them in 2018. But there are real primaries in St. Paul's 4th Congressional District, where activist Amane Badhasso is facing Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), and Minneapolis's 5th Congressional District, where Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) faces yet another primary challenge — this time from Don Samuels, a former city council member who campaigned against last year's failed effort to replace the Minneapolis Police Department.
Samuels raised more than $1 million for the race, less than Omar's last opponent, but enough to get her to burn through most of her cash in a race that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey — who Omar didn't support for reelection — wants her to lose.
“FBI searches Trump safe at Mar-a-Lago for possible classified documents,” by Devlin Barrett, Mariana Alfaro, Josh Dawsey, and Jacqueline Alemany
Why the ex-president's adopted home got raided.
“With deal in hand, Democrats enter the fall armed with something new: Hope,” by Shane Goldmacher and Katie Glueck
How to sell an agenda that had been looking dead.
“Culture wars could be a winning issue — for Democrats,” by Paul Kane
Post-Roe politics and the midterms.
The last days on Vermont's campaign trail.
“Trump targets top Wisconsin GOP lawmaker for not overturning election,” by Patrick Marley
Why the ex-president wants Adam Steen to defeat Robin Vos.
A divisive gubernatorial primary comes to an end.
“Trump voters back his candidates. Some aren’t so sure about a 2024 bid," by Isaac Arnsdorf and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
The DeSantis voter rises.
A “defund the police” rematch in Minneapolis.
“Sarah Palin has long been ridiculed. I wanted to tell a different story,” by T.A. Frank
New respect for the 2008 VP nominee.
“Kansas win mirrors increased Democratic engagement in several states,” by Justine D'Elia-Kueper
A dive into the election result that gave Biden's party hope last week.
On the trail
DALLAS — The CPAC audience turned on Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) in a hurry.
On Friday, the Arizona conservative was seated next to Brandon Straka, the founder of the #WalkAway campaign that urges freethinking Americans to quit the Democratic Party. Straka pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6., 2021, and Biggs was one of the few elected Republicans who’d tried to visit other “J6” defendants in prison.
“What are you going to do about it?” he asked Biggs. The congressman sat silently as the audience cheered. “If you can even name the names of five people sitting in the D.C. prison right now, I’ll write you a check for $10,000.”
Biggs didn’t take the dare, but as members of the crowd shouted at him — “It’s still happening!” and “Do something!” — he apologized. “What you went through is not just inappropriate. It’s inhumane,” he said. “It’s unjust. And it’s un-American.”
Days later, after Trump revealed that the FBI had searched Mar-a-Lago, many Republicans denounced the search, without presenting evidence, with some calling it a political “persecution” worthy of the “late Roman republic.” There were calls to “dismantle” the FBI itself, and zero-source accusations that President Biden himself had ordered the search.
Anyone who watched or attended last weekend’s CPAC in Dallas could have seen that coming. A major theme of the weekend was perpetuating claims that opponents of the Biden administration were being targeted and punished by a regime that was overcompensating for its lost credibility. Straka dramatized his arrest and the experience of other J6 prisoners by sitting in a cage in the CPAC exhibit hall; for others, the administration's reaction over civil disobedience at school board meetings or its plan to hire more IRS agents was proof of how it would hound conservatives.
“The Biden FBI believes this is a room of dangerous radicals,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) told the crowd on Friday. (Since 2021, the American Conservative Union has organized two annual red state CPACs; a winter conference in Orlando and a summer conference in Dallas.)
Some of the worries about conservative persecution were based on the investigations into Trump himself, which had badly damaged the credibility of the FBI with Republicans even before the raid. Many were rooted in the ill-fated letter that the National Association of School Boards sent to the Biden administration last year, when it compared some of the flack that administrators were getting to “domestic terrorism.” One panel, featuring organizers of the effort to root Critical Race Theory and gender ideology out of schools, was named “We are all domestic terrorists now.”
The trial of Alex Jones, the Infowars founder who was losing his legal battle with Sandy Hook parents as CPAC was underway, was another source of concern. In her own appearances at the conference, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) conceded that Jones “did say some things” — she didn't get into specifics about his false claims that the deadliest elementary school shooting in U.S. history was a “giant hoax” — but that he had been silenced by tech and media companies.
In his own remarks, on Saturday, Trump frequently talked about the opposition to him and to like-minded conservatives, saying that they'd been targeted by a security state that he couldn't bring to heel during four years in Washington. A future GOP administration, he said, would need to “remove rogue bureaucrats and root out the deep state,” preventing further persecution.
“If I renounced my beliefs, if I agreed to stay silent, if I stayed home or if I stayed in my basement, the persecution of Donald Trump would stop immediately,” Trump said. “That’s what they want me to do, but I can’t do that.”
Michels for Governor, “Blueprint.” When he ran for U.S. Senate 18 years ago, construction company owner Tim Michels centered his campaign on three issues: “Jobs, affordable health care, and keeping our country safe.” As a GOP candidate for governor, he's run as a conservative outsider again, but his focus for GOP primary voters is on fighting the left and preventing a 2020-style set of pandemic restrictions. “Keep schools open five days a week, no matter what Fauci says,” Michels says.
People for Rebecca, “One Conservative.” How much do Republican voters in Wisconsin still care about ex-Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining reforms? The bet here is “plenty,” with Walker talking up his former lieutenant governor's role in the Act 10 debate. “When Rebecca and I were fighting for reform, Tim Michels and his company were teaming up with the union bosses and those lobbying for a gas tax increase,” says Walker. Michels's role at a manufacturer advocates' group that supported a gas tax has been used against him since he started running for governor.
Neighbors for Samuels, “A Leader Who Can Make A Difference.” Ex-Minneapolis city councilman Don Samuels is the second Democrat to challenge Rep. Ilhan Omar since she got to Congress, with the same basic pitch as her last opponent: He'd share her priorities, but she's not effective. “I knew that after a shooting, it wasn't time to make another speech,” Samuels says in a spot that dramatizes him setting up a community comment forum.
Ilhan for Congress, “Persistence.” Isra Hirsi, Rep. Ilhan Omar's daughter, has been a prominent political activist since 2019, when she co-founded U.S. Climate Strike. She voices one of the closing pre-primary ads for her mother, focused on abortion rights, an issue that Democratic pollsters have seen helping female candidates in primaries. “She will persist until my generation and those after don't have to continue this fight,” Hirsi says.
Finstad for Congress, “Harder.” Minnesota state Rep. Brad Finstad was the favorite to win today's special election in the 1st Congressional District as soon as he won the primary. Biden, who lost the district in 2020, is less popular now, and after a short introduction of his seven kids, Finstad points out that his opponent donated to the president presiding over painful inflation. “He backs Biden; I back Minnesota families,” says Finstad.
Ettinger for Congress, “Robots.” Finstad's Democratic opponent, former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger, doesn't mention his party at all in this ad. After an odd introduction, designed to look like a news report on politicians existing as “robots,” Ettinger says that “people are squeezed,” that he ran a business, and that Finstead voted “the party line” in St. Paul. No other issues are discussed.
Becca Balint for Vermont, “This Is A Time For Courage.” Balint has the support of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in her race for Vermont's sole House seat, which he held for 16 years. The senator appears at the end of this spot, but the focus is on Balint's family story and the worries she shares with Democratic voters. At risk now, she says, are “the right to vote, for reproductive rights, even to marry” — that last freedom illustrated by a clip of Balint and her wife, with whom she formed a civil partnership with before the state legalized same-sex marriage.
Molly for Vermont, “Only One.” Vermont Lt. Gov. Molly Gray is light on issues in this bio ad, which inverts questions about her experience — she won her current job 21 months ago — by focusing on her work as a congressional staffer and state attorney. “I'll work with anyone to do what's right for Vermont,” she says, a nonideological message for what tends to be a very liberal electorate.
Vicky for Governor, “How Well Do You Know Josh Green?” Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green built an early lead in this week's Democratic gubernatorial primary, thanks to his high-profile role overseeing the public side of the state's pandemic response. Former Hawaii first lady Vicky Cayetano uses that record against him, combining an old attack (a $300 campaign finance fine for Green, from 2016) with a new allegation that his campaign got support from a company that got a state covid-testing contract.
Josh Green for Hawaii, “Unite.” One effective way to respond to attack ads is to call them baseless without getting too specific. Green's jab back at Cayetano — a super PAC has also bought ads supporting his opponent — cites a news report that questions her credibility, then gets to his key issues of “affordable housing” and tackling homelessness. It features a two shot of Green and his wife Jaime, another way that campaigns like to establish character and credibility after an attack.
Do you favor or oppose charging Trump with crimes related to his involvement in January 6th, or are you not sure? (Monmouth University, July 28-August 1, 808 adults)
Not sure: 25%
The speedy Republican denunciation of the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago helped polarize the coverage of what happened — Democrats mostly declining to comment, Republicans predicting a backlash that would propel Trump back to power. This poll wrapped up a week before the search, but it found predictable partisan divisions of a potential criminal investigation into Trump. Seventy-three percent of Democrats support charging Trump over his actions surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob; 66 percent of Republicans oppose it, and just one-in-thirty-three partisans disagree with their side's majority opinion.
The idea of putting Trump on trial is less popular; independents favor charging Trump, but most worry that a trial would “hurt” the country. Democrats are also twice as likely to say that a trial would hurt the country as Republicans are to say that it wouldn't. But all of these questions are about Jan. 6, 2021, and while we don't definitively know what the Monday search was after, we don't have polling on the popularity of a search for possible classified documents.
Howard Kohr has been the chief executive of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee for 26 years. Last week, for the first time, he gave an interview to The Washington Post. The subject was the win AIPAC had just celebrated in Michigan, where the United Democracy Project, a super PAC spin off of the pro-Israel group, spent more than $4 million to boost Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) to a win over Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.).
“We’re seeing much more vocal detractors of the U.S.-Israel relationship, who are having an impact on the discussion,” Kohr explained. “And we need to respond.” This is an edited transcript of the conversation:
The Trailer: What does it mean to be “pro-Israel?”
Howard Kohr: There is a lot of confusion about it. The affirmative part of being pro-Israel is about those that deeply believe in, and support, and want to build upon and strengthen the bonds between the United States and Israel. It is the recognition that Israel is an important ally of the United States and shares our values and interests. And for pro-Israel individuals, building upon that relationship is a priority. We’d characterize the detractors of that relationship as those that want to weaken or diminish the ties between our countries, and to do that in a partisan fashion. And institutions and individuals that are detractors embrace the loudest and most vocal opponents of the US.-Israel relationship.
From our point of view, this is a bipartisan issue. It is not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue — it is an American issue. There's a progressive argument for the U.S.-Israel relationship, and there is a conservative argument for it, and they’re both powerful.
TT: Why was the super PAC created? How does that fit into the strategy that you’re talking about?
HK: We’ve been monitoring a whole variety of trends taking place in the body politic. We’re seeing hyper-partisanship, the increasing cost of campaigns, turnover in Congress, and the rise of a very vocal minority on the far left of the Democratic Party that is anti-Israel and seeks to weaken and diminish the relationship. Our view is that support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is both good policy and good politics. We wanted to defend our friends, and to send a message to detractors that there's a group of individuals that will oppose them.
TT: Let’s talk about the Levin-Stevens race — two members running against each other. Why did AIPAC get involved, and what exactly was the problem with Levin’s positions, like his support of the Two-State Solution Act?
HK: It was Congressman Levin's willingness to defend and endorse some of the largest and most vocal detractors of the U.S.-Israel relationship. That, in addition to the legislation, led us to take a look at that race, where you also had Rep. Stevens, who wants to build the relationship, strengthen the relationship; who’s willing to work in a bipartisan fashion.
Look, the good news is that there is still just a small group of vocal detractors of the U.S.-Israel relationship here [in Congress]. Obviously, from my point of view, we would like to keep it small. But there is a vocal minority out there. They’re recruiting candidates, and they're encouraging people to run for office.
TT: Is there no other ideological component to this? The people being outspent say there is; there are candidates who find themselves on the political left for other reasons, not Israel, but their coalition includes people who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
HK: Absolutely. I remember the days when the Democratic Socialists of America, led by Michael Harrington, was actually pro-Israel. Now, the DSA is among the loudest detractors of the relationship. It's become part of the matrix of the far left to be anti-Israel. The majority of progressives, and particularly progressives in Congress, are pro-Israel. There's a battle going on between that group and a far-left group that wants to change that and says, you can't be progressive and be pro-Israel. We believe you can do both. Where’s one of the largest gay pride parades in the world? It’s in Israel.
TT: Is there a risk that AIPAC’s intervention in primaries leads to more polarization, along those lines — left-wing Democrats associating it with the right? That’s sort of the critique from Jeremy Ben-Ami at J Street.
HK: We think just the opposite is true — there's going to be a whole class of progressives and Democrats that are pro-Israel, and they'll become empowered. It will reinforce what has been the historic position within the party, since Harry Truman recognized the state of Israel. One of the things we hope to do is to ensure that the Democrats getting elected to Congress are opponents of BDS. We think that in the next Congress, there'll be fewer supporters than there are today. Over time, we hope there’ll be even less.
TT: The UDP’s ads haven’t focused on Israel. They’ve focused in whether candidates have criticized Joe Biden, whether they’ve been effective; they have not been necessarily about where they stand on Israel. Why is that?
HK: Like other super PACs, it’s focused on the issues that are important to the voters in that district. The objective here is to ensure that your candidate emerges victorious and that the anti-Israel candidate is defeated. So in that sense, like other super PACs, we focused on the issues that matter in the district. UDP itself says proudly who it is. If you go to its website, it is clear. Everybody understands what the motivation is, even though the issues that it may be talking about in the race are about the issues of that district.
TT: Is there really a mandate for AIPAC's position on Israel if the ads in these races aren’t about Israel?
HK: It’s clear to the candidates, on both sides, what our position is on the U.S.-Israel relationship.
TT: How do you separate pro-Israel Republicans from some of the ideas that have traction on the right? I’m at a conference right now, for example, where Viktor Orban is speaking, a few days after he gave a speech railing against Europe becoming “mixed race.”
HK: The most important thing about AIPAC — and this is both a virtue and a difficulty — is that we're single issue. It's about the U.S.-Israel relationship. That's the mandate our supporters give us. In the organized Jewish community, there are organizations whose focus is to combat antisemitism and take on those forces on the right and left who are trafficking in this. And it's a serious problem.
TT: Another criticism AIPAC is getting — you’ve seen this in campaigns, but it hasn’t moved many votes — is you’re helping some Republicans who voted to throw out the 2020 election.
HK: We're about addition. We're not trying to constrict the community. We’re trying to enlarge the community that's both on the left and on the right.
TT: Is there anything that a candidate who supports Israel could support that would rule them out for AIPAC's support?
HK: I’d have to think about that. Again, because we're a single issue organization and we're bipartisan, that’s the reason that the majority of Republicans and the majority of Democrats have been recipients of our PAC support. The good news about American politics is that there are many organizations that deal with a whole range of issues that are in the American political system.
TT: During the Levin-Stevens primary, David Victor, who was a former AIPAC president living in the district, organized potential donors to Stevens with this argument. Basically: It’s one thing if Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) or somebody who's been associated with BDS takes a critical position of Israel; it’s “unusually corrosive” if a Jewish Democrat does. Is that right, that Levin, or Bernie Sanders — because they're Jewish — can pull colleagues along and give the ideas more credibility?
HK: As we commonly say around here, not everyone who is pro-Israel is Jewish. It’s also the case that not everyone who is Jewish is pro-Israel. That has nothing to do with, religion, race, ethnicity, party affiliation, etc. It has to do with an orientation. If you wake up every morning finding ways to consistently criticize only Israel, that sends a message. In the majority of these races, voters have supported the pro-Israel progressive candidate. For us, that was the proof of concept.
TT: What role does President Biden play here, enforcing what the mainstream Democratic view on Israel is?
HK: The president's playing a very important role. He has demonstrated as strong support for the U.S.-Israel relationship as anybody. This visit that he made to Israel was seen by the people of Israel, and in support of Israel as a remarkably strong visit. At the very beginning of the trip, he says you don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist. That’s a powerful statement for not only the president of the United States, but the leader of the Democratic Party. A member of Congress was going to the floor not that long ago calling Israel an apartheid state.
TT: And what about the next generation of Democratic politicians? Obviously, Haley Stevens is younger — younger than me, actually. But you’ve seen the polling on this, and you’ve seen the trends on campus. Young Democrats view Israel more negatively than Biden does.
HK: We obviously pay a lot of attention to this. The answer is dependent on a lot of things. Having a president continuing to signal strong support for the U.S.-Israel relationship is a powerful message to as to the party itself. We think it can have a tremendous impact on the younger generation when they see young women like Haley Stevens or a guy like Ritchie Torres begin to emerge in the party as figures in the party — progressive and pro-Israel and attractive.
That can have a tremendous impact on the views of young people in America today, and particularly within the Democratic Party. And to the extent that figures emerge with hostility to Israel, that can have the opposite effect. We want to make sure the former happens and not the latter.
TT: What are the next plans for the super PAC? We’re almost through the primaries — are you looking at other races?
HK: The focus up until now has been in these critical Democratic primaries where there have been two progressives vying with each other, a pro-Israel progressive and anti-Israel progressive. We've been supporting the pro-Israel progressives. We're going to continue to take a look at what may happen through the rest of the primaries and into the general election.
TT: What happens after the election with someone like Summer Lee, who won in Pennsylvania? She’s a state representative, doesn’t really have much of a voting record on Israel. But her first interaction with pro-Israel groups was that money was spent against her.
HK: With everyone that gets elected, we're going to reach out. We’ll continue to have an open door and an extended hand and try to encourage them that on the issue of the U.S.-Israel relationship, here they can be joining us. We hope they will.
TT: I mentioned Sanders before, but there’s one more critique he makes that I’d like you to respond to. It’s that in many of these races, certainly by taking on the Squad and allies, AIPAC is taking on women of color.
HK: There’s a double standard that exists when it comes to our involvement. They forget that we were involved in helping Shontel Brown to victory [in Ohio] or Valerie Foushee to victory [in North Carolina]. Women of color who are pro-Israel will get the support from us, and those who aren’t won’t. It's not about who they are. It's what policy positions they have.
No other super PAC or PAC faces the same kind of criticisms. When a PAC helps Andy Levin it’s a good thing. And when it helps Haley Stevens, it's a bad thing. That’s just reality. We live with it.
… four days until primaries in Hawaii
… seven days until primaries in Alaska and Wyoming
… 14 days until primaries in Florida, runoffs in Oklahoma, and congressional primaries in New York
… 28 days until primaries in Massachusetts
… 35 days until primaries in Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island
… 98 days until the midterm elections
2022 Election Calendar