Apr 23, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Squad member Summer Lee beats pro-Israel primary challenger

Rep. Summer Lee, wearing a tan blazer and tan turtleneck, speaking into a microphone surrounded by colleagues and supporters.

Rep. Summer Lee. Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images.

Progressive Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) on Tuesday defeated a primary challenge from moderate rival Bhavani Patel, AP projects.

Why it matters: The primary was one of several this year in which vocally pro-Palestinian members of the progressive "Squad" are being pitted against pro-Israel challengers.

The backdrop: A former state representative first elected to the Pittsburgh-based district in 2022, Lee has emerged in Congress as a vocal critic of Israel since the onset of its war with Hamas.

  • Patel, a former local legislator who ran for the seat in 2022, has challenged Lee from her right with $500,000 in backing from Moderate PAC.
  • Lee has gone after the PAC, and Patel by extension, for deriving much of its funding from Republican megadonor Jeff Yass.

The big picture: Lee's win is a victory for the Squad, but the hardest challenges for the progressive group have yet to come.

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