The super PAC tied to pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to beat out Democrat Summer Lee. Plus, a confusion over the real Mike Doyle.
By Abigail Tracy for Vanity Fair
According to a poll provided to Vanity Fair by Lee allies, the progressive is polling at 44% among likely voters. Republican candidate Michael Doyle is closely trailing at 40%. But what’s perhaps most interesting—and of biggest concern to Democrats—is that 16% of those polled said they were undecided. Over the weekend, UDP spent just shy of $80,000 on mailers targeting Lee’s campaign. Then on Monday, it was announced that the PAC would spend more than $999,000 on new television ads, according to AdImpact Politics.
“This is scary,” Hannah Fertig, who manages independent expenditure for the progressive group Justice Democrats, said. “We can’t let conservative outside groups steal this election.”
The shifting dynamics of the Pennsylvania congressional race have forced national Democrats to go on the defense. Per The Intercept, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee—the official campaign arm for House Democrats—hadn’t planned to invest in the Lee-Doyle race, but a spokesperson told the outlet that it now plans to invest six figures in support of Lee. It’s the kind of race Democrats can’t afford to lose, especially in a midterm cycle already favoring Republicans.
UDP’s campaign against Lee isn’t the only thing making Democrats panic. In a twist almost too ridiculous to be true, the Republican candidate—who goes by Mike Doyle—bears the same name as the retiring Democrat currently in the seat…Rep. Mike Doyle (no relation). Lee’s campaign has sounded the alarm that this could create voter confusion. It has even cut an ad to clear things up.
Other Lee allies have similarly come to her defense. “Pennsylvania has a representation problem,” Kadida Kenner, the chief executive of the New Pennsylvania Project—which works to expand the electorate—said, citing Pennsylvania’s overwhelmingly white, male state legislature. If elected, Lee, a state representative, would become the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress. “It’s shameful what AIPAC is attempting to do to disrupt Lee’s ascension to the House in DC,” Kenner said. “AIPAC says Lee is too extreme, but it is AIPAC throwing their financial support behind a candidate who is anti-abortion rights, anti-gun safety, [and] anti-Social Security and Medicare.”
Nationally, Republicans need to net only five seats to take back control of the House—math that does not factor in a possible win in a historically liberal enclave of Pennsylvania.