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Jewish Groups That Helped Democrat Win In Pennsylvania Cheer His Upset Victory

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Liberal Jewish groups hailed the upset victory of a Democratic congressional candidate in a special election in a Pennsylvania district that President Donald Trump won by 20 points in 2016.

Conor Lamb, a former U.S. Marine and prosecutor who rejected the Democratic establishment in his campaign — but ran on a traditional Democratic platform of opposing tax cuts and preserving social safety nets — eked out a win Tuesday in Pittsburgh’s exurbs.

Lamb, 33, defeated Rick Saccone, a representative in the state House, by 627 votes. There are an estimated 11,000 Jews in the 18th District, which has an overall population of 710,000.

With a margin so thin, Jewish groups that had campaigned for Lamb were quick to say their contributions helped make the difference.

“We’re still flying high from Conor Lamb’s victory on Tuesday,” said J Street PAC, the political action committee affiliated with the liberal Jewish Middle East policy group, in a fundraising email for another J Street-backed candidate in Illinois, Marie Newman.

J Street PAC endorsed Lamb on Jan. 31 and raised $60,000 for him from more than 225 donors.

The Pittsburgh branch of Bend the Arc, a Jewish social action group, set up a phone bank and knocked on doors to get out the vote for Lamb, a spokesman said. The Jewish Democratic Council of America ran an ad in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle and an op-ed by one of its board members.

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