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CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, [email protected], 202-448-1600
No backers of Iran deal lose their seats to opponents
PAC distributes $3.6 million, making it largest pro-Israel PAC once again
WASHINGTON – J Street surpassed its previous record in the 2016 election cycle, raising over $3.6 million for 124 congressional endorsees, helping to defeat two of the most strident opponents of the Iran deal in the Senate and electing the largest-ever slate of pro-Israel, pro-peace candidates in Congress.
JStreetPAC raised more than all other pro-Israel PACs combined and 45 percent of all the pro-Israel money distributed this cycle. The group reaffirmed its status as the nation’s largest pro-Israel PAC, growing its total contributions by more than 50 percent over the 2014 election.
Ninety-nine percent of J Street-endorsed members of Congress won their races and two of the six Democratic challengers who won their races were J Street endorsees. The 115th Congress will include 99 J Street endorsees in the House – more than half of the Democratic caucus – and 19 in the Senate.
J Street backed Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who defeated Sen. Mark Kirk in the Illinois Senate race, and Gov. Maggie Hassan, who beat Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. Both Kirk and Ayotte were among the leading opponents of last year’s agreement to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
JStreetPAC was a top bundler in each of these races, raising over $200,0000 each for Duckworth and Hassan, as well as for Catherine Cortez-Masto, who won the open Senate race in Nevada.
The pro-Israel, pro-peace group’s goal this cycle was to provide political space and support to candidates who supported the Iran nuclear agreement, and take the offensive against some of its most strident critics. In the final tally, not a single incumbent supporter of the agreement lost their seat, while leading Senate hawks were beaten.
“We showed that congressional candidates can take well-reasoned stands in favor of diplomacy and against saber-rattling and military intervention, and not only survive but prosper,” said J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami. “We also showed that taking such extreme positions has a political cost.”
In addition to its fundraising for candidates, J Street was the only group to lead a major independent effort to defend the Iran nuclear agreement, spending $750,000 on activities that included television and digital advertisements and direct mail in the competitive states of Illinois, New Hampshire, Nevada and Wisconsin. The group pushed back against the millions of dollars spent on attacks ads by candidates and outside groups that opposed the deal.
The organization’s fundraising total and number of endorsees have grown in every election since its founding in 2008.
“Bolstered by our increased strength in Congress, J Street stands ready to rally and unify opposition to any dangerous moves by the next administration that undermine the security, democracy and common decency our community so values,” said Ben-Ami.