The announcement comes amid recent primary divisions over calls for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas

Democratic Majority for Israel’s political arm, DMFI PAC, is endorsing Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in California’s closely contested Senate primary, extending a key line of national support with just under two months until the March 5 election.

Schiff, a veteran Jewish Democrat long seen as a pro-Israel stalwart, “has been a stellar member of Congress who has fought tirelessly for democracy and for Democratic values, including a strong U.S.-Israel relationship,” Mark Mellman, DMFI PAC’s chairman, said in a statement shared exclusively with Jewish Insider on Monday.

“Congressman Schiff has unrivaled expertise on national security issues, helped lead the charge to hold Donald Trump accountable and has a record of getting things done for California and the nation,” Mellman added. “We need leaders in the Senate like Adam who have the experience, expertise, drive and passion to take on our nation’s biggest challenges, and we are proud to endorse him.”

The stamp of approval from DMFI PAC, making its first Senate endorsement of the current election cycle, comes as Schiff continues to lock up support among Jewish and pro-Israel voters in California’s top-two open primary, where he holds a narrow lead over Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), a top progressive rival who recently came under scrutiny over her shifting decision to call for a “bilateral cease-fire” between Israel and Hamas.

Though Porter won support from DMFI PAC as a House candidate, her position on a cease-fire, which she had refrained from backing until last month, drew a notable foreign policy contrast with Schiff, who has echoed the Biden administration in opposing such measures.

Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), an anti-war icon who has struggled to gain traction in the race, has been outspoken in her support for a cease-fire — which she endorsed shortly after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks. 

The most recent polling on the race put Schiff in first place at 21% among likely voters, four points ahead of Porter. The survey, conducted in early January by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, indicated that Schiff’s supporters were most likely to approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

In addition to DMFI PAC, which has previously endorsed his congressional bids, Schiff was recently ranked by Democrats for Israel California, a state advocacy group, as the strongest supporter of Israel in the race.

A spokesperson for DMFI PAC, which announced its first round of House endorsements last month, declined to share details on the group’s financial plans for the Senate race — where Schiff has led the field in fundraising.

In a statement, Schiff praised DMFI PAC as “a powerful advocate for security in the region, peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and a two-state solution.”

“In the aftermath of the atrocities of Oct. 7th, it is more critical than ever that we make it clear to our adversaries and our allies alike that we stand with Israel and support its right to defend itself,” he said. “I am grateful to have the support of DMFI PAC, and I look forward to working with them to continue the strong U.S.-Israel relationship.”