Democratic pro-Israel group steps in to save vulnerable Jewish incumbent
The Democratic Majority for Israel’s political action committee is investing six figures on a digital ad to support Rep. Elaine Luria, a vulnerable Democratic incumbent whose district includes Virginia Beach.
The ad, titled “Can’t be trusted,” highlights abortion rights and describes Luria’s Republican opponent, Jennifer Kiggans — a nurse practitioner and a former Navy pilot who supports a national abortion ban — as extreme on the matter. The ad will target likely voters in the district.
Mark Mellman, the group’s chair, called Luria a “dedicated public servant” who has “demonstrated time and again her deep commitment to leading with integrity and upholding our Democratic values, including a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.”
Luria, 47, was first elected in 2018 as part of a blue wave that flipped districts that had voted for former President Donald Trump in 2016. A member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol, Luria is facing a tough bid for a third term. Her district is considered a toss-up, according to the Cook Political Report.
Hers is one of two races identified as “key” by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s political action committee, and the only one in which a Democrat seeks reelection. Luria “has demonstrated committed and effective leadership in advancing the US-Israel relationship during her service in Congress,” AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann said.
While she voted for Trump’s impeachment, Luria aligned herself with the Republican president on his Israel policy. She was one of 12 House Democrats who broke party ranks in 2019 to vote in favor of a Republican measure that would allow state and local governments to adopt laws to divest public funds from companies that boycott Israel. In an interview with The Washington Post, Luria said that her Jewish faith inspired her to take a position on impeachment and to speak up in defense of Israel and against antisemitism.
The DMFI investment comes on the heels of a successful election season for the pro-Israel group, which boasts a nearly 85% success rate in the Democratic primaries. The group was the largest outside spender in competitive primaries in Illinois and Ohio, which helped Reps. Sean Casten and Shontel Brown defeat Israel critics. It spent a total of $6 million this year.
DMFI also issued its third list of endorsements this election cycle, including three candidates in key battleground races in New York, California and Rhode Island. It is also backing Adam Frisch, the Jewish challenger to Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd District. A recent poll showed Frisch tied with Boebert, who supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2021 election and has expressed admiration for the QAnon conspiracy theory.