Leading Alabama Democratic candidates openly pulling for AIPAC endorsement 

The top contenders for a new, Democratic-leaning House seat are showing that it’s valuable to be seen as the pro-Israel candidate — even in a deep-blue district

AnthonyforAlabama website

Minority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives Anthony Daniels

Multiple leading Democratic candidates in a newly drawn Alabama House district are openly vying for an endorsement from AIPAC — a pattern that runs counter to efforts from the progressive left to cast the group as a conservative influence at odds with the Democratic base.

One leading candidate in the race professed to have received an endorsement that AIPAC said it hadn’t issued, while another is publicly making a pitch for the group’s support. The seat, Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District, was redrawn as a Black opportunity district for the 2024 cycle, giving Democrats a strong chance of picking up the seat and attracting a slew of congressional hopefuls.

Anthony Daniels, the minority leader in the Alabama House of Representatives and the top fundraising Democrat for the 2nd District, promoted an endorsement from AIPAC on his campaign website that AIPAC says it never issued.

Based on a screenshot of a previous version of Daniels’ website viewed by Jewish Insider, the candidate had, until recently, listed an endorsement from AIPAC. The endorsement no longer appears on the site. AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann told JI that the pro-Israel group had not issued an endorsement in the race.

Richard Merritt, a spokesperson for Daniels campaign told JI, “We were informed that it was not a sole endorsement, so we removed their name from our website. We are thankful for the ongoing support from AIPAC.”

Asked about Merritt’s comments, Wittmann reiterated that AIPAC had issued no endorsement in the race, but didn’t directly address whether the group is offering other support to any candidates.

Meanwhile, another prominent candidate in the race, state Rep. Napoleon Bracy, was eager to burnish his own pro-Israel credentials when asked about the snafu, highlighting the “special bond” between the U.S. and Israel and calling Israel a “cornerstone” of the U.S.’ Middle East security policy.

“As Israel fights to defend itself, I firmly believe that the global community must prioritize safeguarding the innocence of Israelis and Palestinians alike to achieve lasting peace because those are our shared values. In that light, we must remain wary of not only terrorist threats posed from inside Israel’s borders but also of those forces externally that feed the furnaces of fear,” Bracy said. “Ultimately, the United States must preserve our strategic relationship to fight terror and strive for the peace necessary to free the people of this region from the yoke of terror.”

Bracy also openly made a pitch for AIPAC’s support: “Our campaign is in the best position to continuously support AIPAC as a grassroots organization fueled by the people’s agenda.”

Daniels has also hewed to a pro-Israel stance. He issued a statement expressing solidarity with Israel in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack.

“This is terrorism, plain and simple. It cannot be tolerated and should be condemned by every member of the international community,” he said of the Hamas attack. “As Americans, we love freedom, value peace, and support the right of free, peaceful people to defend themselves against unwarranted, unjust, and inhumane aggression. I stand in solidarity with the people of Israel and strongly condemn this horrific act of war and terrorism.”

Daniels described the Hamas attack as “unprovoked,” blaming the terrorist group for plunging the region into war, expressing sympathy with the victims, condemning Hamas’ hostage-taking and calling for the hostages to be immediately released.

There’s a deep lineup of candidates vying for the new seat. An internal poll conducted by the campaign of Shomari Figures, a former Justice Department official and White House and Senate staffer, showed Bracy and Figures leading the field at 16% and 13% respectively, with Daniels falling in third at 8%.

The primary election is set for March 5, with a runoff on April 16 in the likely event that no candidate secures a majority in the initial vote.

AIPAC endorsees, particularly in competitive seats, have pulled in significant donations from the pro-Israel group’s national fundraising networks; a nod from AIPAC could give a candidate fuel to shoot to the front of the pack.

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