AIPAC pauses fundraising for Scott Perry, as he faces competitive reelection 

The pro-Israel group said it had not withdrawn its endorsement of Perry, but the move could open an opportunity for Democrat Janelle Stelson to attack him on Israel policy

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) speaks during a hearing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on March 19, 2024 in Washington, D.C.

As Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) faces another hotly contested general election race, AIPAC has halted its fundraising for the former Freedom Caucus chair following his vote against supplemental funding for Israel last month.

The pro-Israel group removed the fundraising portal on its PAC website for Republicans who voted against the supplemental package, but Perry is the most endangered of the group, running in a district that the Cook Political Report rates as “lean Republican.”

AIPAC also paused fundraising for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), who both hold “likely Republican” seats. 

AIPAC spokesperson Marshall Wittmann said the group has not withdrawn its endorsement of Perry but did not answer further questions about when or if it might resume fundraising for the Pennsylvania Republican.

Perry’s vote could open a lane for Janelle Stelson, his Democratic challenger and a former TV news host, to attack him as insufficiently supportive of Israel, and to potentially pick off moderate voters concerned about his votes against Israel and Ukraine aid. Democratic Majority for Israel, which backs pro-Israel Democrats, endorsed Stelson on Monday.

“In stark contrast to my opponent, I will stand up for Israel and against antisemitism. My opponent has not been a reliable ally of Israel and has made offensive and reckless comments exacerbating the pain in the Jewish community,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to working with DMFI in Congress to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Perry said in a statement that he voted against the bill due to what he described as funding for Hamas, referring to humanitarian aid funding.

“I have been and remain one of the most vehement defenders in Congress of the State of Israel. I staunchly support her right to defend herself and her people by responding to the heinous and unprovoked attacks by Hamas on Oct 7th and beyond,” Perry said. “I have grievous concerns, however, about provisions in the recent House funding bill that also allocates Billions to Hamas – terrorists! I will not support both sides of the same war; I will not support terrorists; and I will not callously, negligently, and dangerously spend hard earned American Taxpayer dollars on terrorism that is aimed not only at one of our greatest allies, but at America as well.”

Perry, who has embraced some right-wing positions and led the hardline House Freedom Caucus while representing a competitive district — an unusual combination — has long been a top Democratic target. But he won by more than six points in 2020 — outperforming former President Donald Trump, who won the district — and by more than seven points in 2022.

A recent Stelson campaign poll found Perry up 45%-43% — within the margin of error — with 12% of voters undecided.

Outside of his Israel vote, Perry has faced a series of controversies over past remarks.

Most recently, during a May 8 lawmaker briefing on campus antisemitism, Perry declared, “The KKK in modern times, a lot of young people think somehow it’s a right-wing organization when it is the military wing of the Democratic Party. Decidedly, unabashedly, racist and antisemitic,” according to a recording reported by CNN

He also said that “replacement theory is real,” referring to the conspiracy theory that elites — often Jews — are seeking to flood the country with immigrants to diminish the influence of and ultimately eliminate the white population in the U.S. and Europe.

“They added white to it to stop everybody from talking about it,” Perry added.

The conspiracy theory has been a motivating factor for antisemitic attacks, including the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

Responding to the CNN reporting, Perry said that “the radical left twists facts in order to silence conversation about its own crimes and Biden’s intentional failures to enforce laws and close or regulate our borders” and that “when the left loses an argument, it debases and smears instead of engaging in debate on merits.”

Earlier this year, Perry’s campaign Facebook page shared a screenshot of an X post by an account that frequently shares neo-Nazi, racist and white nationalist content. The post shared by Perry’s page also promoted the great replacement theory.

In 2021, Pennsylvania Jewish groups condemned Perry for comments comparing the modern-day Democratic Party to Nazi Germany.

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