The Acela Primary and the Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Movement

Melanie Fineman
on April 28, 2016

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Tuesday night’s “Acela Primary” (named for the overly priced Amtrak train that runs along the Eastern Seaboard, not to be confused with the even slower “Northeastern Express”) was a big moment for the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy political movement. Today, JStreetPAC — the largest pro-Israel PAC in the nation — has the most endorsees in our history.

Several of our pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy candidates were up at the ballot box on Tuesday night.

Two “On the Street” candidates, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) and Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-04), were running for the Democratic nomination in the Maryland Senate contest to replace retiring Sen, Barbara Mikulski. Van Hollen won that race. Just north in Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senate primary, Katie McGinty, also an “On the Street” candidate, emerged victorious from a competitive three-way race in the deep purple Rust Belt state.

“On the street” is how we designate candidates in competitive primaries who will receive JStreetPAC’s endorsement if they win their party’s nomination. In the meantime, this designation allows our members to give to candidates through the PAC during the primaries.

By securing their party’s nomination, both Van Hollen and McGinty have become fully endorsed candidates. That means JStreetPAC has endorsees in 11 of the 34 November Senate races. That’s huge.

And there’s more.

Three of the candidates in Tuesday night’s primary for Van Hollen’s old seat in Maryland’s eighth Congressional District, State Senator Jamie Raskin, Katherine Matthews and Joel Rubin, were also listed as “On the Street.” The elected Democratic nominee — Raskin — now joins JStreetPAC’s endorsee list, bringing the number of House candidates we’ve endorsed to 94.

11 Senate candidates, 94 House incumbents, five House challengers. All pro-Israel, all-pro-peace, all-pro-democracy.

Watching our movement continue to grow into force to be reckoned with on the campaign trail is evidence of the changing political dynamics in Washington — it’s increasingly clear strong support for diplomacy is good policy as well as good politics. But just because we have accrued a record number of endorsees does not mean that our work is over — far from it.

We’ve got a long way to go until November, and there is much more to be done in order to ensure that our next Congress is the most pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy Congress ever.

Melanie Fineman is a Digital Assistant at J Street. She’s on Twitter at @mnfineman.