Pro-Israel candidates emerged victorious throughout key primary races in New York and Florida on Tuesday, after Jewish identity played key roles throughout the campaigns that will impact the balance of power between progressive and moderate Democrats ahead of the midterm elections in November.
Rep. Jerry Nadler soundly won his race in New York’s 12th congressional district, defeating Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Suraj Patel. He earned over 55 percent of the vote, despite running against a fellow incumbent and a popular young upstart.
Nadler, who wears his Jewish heritage as a badge of honor, put that heritage front-and-center throughout the campaign, stressing that he is New York City’s last remaining Jewish member of Congress. J Street’s super PAC invested $100,000 in hopes of getting Nadler across the finish line.
New York’s 10th district race, where former House Democratic counsel for Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial Dan Goldman won against three progressive challengers, coming in 2 points ahead of progressive Yuh-Line Niou.
Heir to the Levi Strauss fortune, Goldman invested at least $4 million of his estimated $253-million net worth to his campaign and is slated to be among the richest members of Congress.
He was being challenged by Niou, Rep. Mondaire Jones and Carlina Rivera. The four candidates were all within 10 points of each other as the final votes were being tallied.
Niou had notably drawn the ire of the pro-Israel community over her unclear stance on the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, with super PACs spending at least $395,000 attacking her over her positions.
“We are proud to have played a role in defeating Yuh-Line Niou – an anti-Israel candidate who endorses the BDS campaign against Israel – through our significant support of a local New York super Pac,” AIPAC’s United Democracy Project super PAC said in a statement.
In Jones’ former 17th district, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney defeated progressive challenger Alessandra Biaggi despite widespread criticism for seeking reelection in this district and pushing Jones out. The Democratic Majority for Israel’s PAC spent over $53,000 on digital ads in support of Maloney, who continues to defend his decision on pushing Jones out.
In the neighboring 16th district, Rep. Jamaal Bowman comfortably won reelection over Vedat Gashi, despite pro-Israel leaders and former Democrat lawmakers endorsing the progressive congressman’s opponent. J Street invested $100,000 in support of Bowman in hopes of fending off a surprise challenge.
In Florida, 25-year-old progressive Maxwell Frost emerged victorious in the crowded Democratic primary in the 10th district. He is very likely to win the general election in the solidly blue district, setting him up to be the first Gen-Z member of Congress.
Frost was endorsed by leading progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and came to prominence as a gun safety advocate. He has worked with the American Civil Liberties Union and numerous political campaigns. He has vowed to be both “pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian” in Congress, while local Palestinian advocates have accused him of shifting policies to avoid greater scrutiny.
In the neighboring 11th district, far-right provocateur Laura Loomer came surprisingly close to unseating Republican incumbent Rep. Daniel Webster, though she ended up several thousand votes short of the upset.
Loomer, a conspiracy theorist who came to national prominence due to her anti-Muslim positions and has been banned from leading social media platforms, had moved from south Florida to her new central Florida district after being soundly defeated last election by Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel.
She alleged voter fraud instead of conceding the race following the results Tuesday night, calling the Republican Party “broken to its core.”
Over in south Florida’s 23rd district, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz was elected to effectively replace Rep. Ted Deutch, the leading pro-Israel Democrat who is leaving politics to chair the American Jewish Committee.
The 41-year-old Moskowitz, who graduated from Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (the site of the 2018 mass shooting), has said throughout the campaign that he will prioritize Israel and gun control, just as Deutch did throughout his tenure.