Top House Democratic leaders endorsed Rep. Summer Lee’s reelection bid Wednesday, a strong show of support for the Pennsylvania Democrat as she faces competitive primary challenges potentially funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“We proudly endorse Summer Lee’s re-election campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives so she can help us take back the House majority, oppose the extreme MAGA Republican agenda and continue our tremendous progress for Pennsylvanians,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Whip Katherine Clark and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar said in a statement obtained by POLITICO.
Lee, a progressive allied with the “squad” of liberal lawmakers, weathered an onslaught of spending by the super PAC affiliated with AIPAC last cycle. In a statement, she thanked the leadership trio for their backing and said she would “look forward to continuing to work with them to protect abortion access, voting rights, and clean energy investments to serve the people of PA’s 12th Congressional District.”
The endorsements come amid persistent jitters on the left about AIPAC-backed primary challengers, which prompted top progressives to clamor for support from their leaders. Democratic leaders generally endorse incumbents against primary challenges in line with longstanding policy and have already lent their endorsement this cycle to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) amid her own primary challenges.
Lee is unlikely to confront a competitive general election in the deep-blue, Pittsburgh-area seat. But she, along with other progressive Democrats, earned the online ire of AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups for their outspoken criticism of the Israeli government as it ramped up its war in Gaza.
Lee has two Democratic challengers in the April primary: Edgewood Borough Council member Bhavini Patel and Laurie MacDonald, president and CEO of the Center for Victims. Both candidates have emphasized a more centrist bent in their campaigns, with Patel particularly critical of Lee’s record on Israel.