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Saturday, May 25, 2024
Gov & Politics

Neither Candidate Has Much to Say About Israel. So Why Is AIPAC Pouring Money Into This Race?

The powerful lobbying group is going against a Capitol Police officer who fended off January 6 insurrectionists.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said its top priority this cycle was to oust members of the progressive Squad. But the group has also been quietly pouring money into another Democratic primary: a competitive race for an open congressional seat in Maryland. AIPAC’s target? Former Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who was in the Capitol during the January 6 attacks. 

Neither Dunn nor his rival, state Sen. Sarah Elfreth, has been particularly outspoken in support of or against Israel, raising the question of why AIPAC is involved in the race at all. 

In the last month, AIPAC’s super PAC, United Democracy Project, has poured $4.1 million into the race to support Elfreth. Some 20 candidates are running for the open seat in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, where incumbent Rep. John Sarbanes announced in October he would not seek reelection. Dunn and Elfreth are leading fundraising.

In individual campaign contributions, Dunn has outraised Elfreth almost 4 to 1, with $4.5 million to her $1.4 million. But considering the outside boost from AIPAC, the group has given Elreth’s campaign a significant leg up: The pro-Israel group’s super PAC has spent almost as much as Dunn has raised. Elfreth has distanced herself from AIPAC’s support and said she was unaware that the group’s super PAC would be spending on her behalf. 

Elfreth’s campaign is also getting support from at least 12 donors who’ve given between $1,000 and $6,600 who have also given major support to far-right Republicans including former President Donald Trump, according to campaign filings reviewed by The Intercept. At least five of the donors are registered Republicans. 

Continue reading on the Intercept
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