Jewish, pro-Israel Democrats prevailed over their Republican opponents in two close congressional contests on Wednesday, giving Jewish Democrats cause for relief.
The Associated Press took till 3:08 in the morning to declare the victor in the contest to succeed current Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former CIA and Defense Department employee, in the 7th Congressional District of Michigan.
Barrett led in the vote count for the majority of election night, with Slotkin edging closer until finally overtaking Barrett and extending his lead into the early hours of the following day.
Slotkin ultimately defeated Barrett with 52% of the vote to his opponent, Republican State Sen. Tom Barrett’s 46%.
Slotkin, a well-known advocate for pro-Israel causes, was elected to a third term in Congress.
She serves on important committees like the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees and chairs the subcommittee on intelligence and counterterrorism of the House Homeland Security Committee.
She has endorsed various initiatives to fight anti-Semitism and advocated further funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The political AIPAC PAC and Democratic pro-Israel organizations backed Slotkin, but her opponent, a U.S. Veteran of the Army, supported Israel.
Even though the contest was close, Slotkin won by her most significant margin in the Republican-favored, newly-drawn district.
The race spent $37 million, ranking it among the top two in the nation, according to OpenSecrets.
Just under $39 million was spent on the only other campaign, which featured a Jewish incumbent Democrat against a Jewish Republican in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District.
At 3:47 p.m., the AP declared incumbent Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) the winner. Wild defeated rival Lisa Scheller on Wednesday by receiving 50% of the vote to Scheller’s 49%.
Jewish Democratic organizations like Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and neutral groups like AIPAC PAC supported Wild, while the Republican Jewish Coalition backed Scheller, a businesswoman endorsed by former President Donald Trump who was also a strong supporter of Israel (RJC).
Scheller has given more than $1 million to the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, speaks Hebrew, and owns a home in Israel.
Polls taken before election night had Scheller ahead of Wild, who had barely defeated her in the 2020 contest.
Outside Republican organizations spent about $11 million to support Scheller, including $750,000 on advertisements in September that criticized Wild.