The raw debate over the Israel-Hamas war roiling the Democratic Party will take center stage in House primaries next year, starting with contests in California and North Carolina in early March.

Why it matters: Challenges to Reps. Jamal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.), both vocal critics of Israel, will receive most of the attention. But the future of the Democratic caucus will be determined by old-school battles between centrists and progressives in a record number of open seats.

State of play: To date, there have been 23 House Democratic retirements and 11 Republican retirements (plus one expulsion).

Zoom out: Pro-Israel Democrats are plotting a three-pronged strategy to expand their ranks.

  1. Spend heavily to defeat “Squad”-like Democrats.
  2. Bolster vulnerable lawmakers facing tough general elections.
  3. Invest in promising candidates in crowded primaries.

The big picture: It’s not a firm and fast rule, but Democrats dedicated to Israel’s right to self-defense tend to be more centrist on issues like crime and immigration.

The other side: Progressives are more focused on defending their vulnerable members than going on offense. And they are expecting to be outspent.

Driving the news: The Democratic Majority for Israel PAC released its first round of endorsements on Sunday, including 23 “frontliners” — lawmakers expected to have the toughest general election fights. In total, DMFI is backing 81 incumbents.

Between the lines: Behind the looming primary fights will be a wide money disparity, but that doesn’t guarantee victory for the pro-Israel side.

What we’re watching: The party’s divide will be on display in Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, now open after the retirement of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).