Summer Lee, Pennsylvania’s first Black congresswoman, has expanded her base. Her primary is a test case in a year progressive candidates face a challenge from pro-Israel funds.

by Joan E. Greve, The Guardian

The US representative Summer Lee greeted a cheering crowd of a couple of hundred supporters at the Pittsburgh teachers’ union headquarters on Sunday, with two days left until her Democratic primary.

Lee, who made history in 2022 when she became the first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania, predicted that voters would send a resounding message on Tuesday about the resilience of the progressive movement. To underscore that point, Lee was joined at the rally by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, another member of the progressive “Squad” in the House.

Summer Lee stands at a podium giving a speech

“Everybody in the country is waiting to see whether or not we can have a reflective democracy,” Lee said. “So we are going to fight in western Pennsylvania, and on Tuesday, we’re going send a message to every dark-money billionaire, whoever they are: that your influence is no longer welcome in our democracy.”

The boisterous rally marked an impressive show of support for a politician who eked out the narrowest of primary victories two years ago, after facing an onslaught of negative advertising from pro-Israel groups. This time around, many progressives expected the same groups to target Lee again, given her consistent and vocal support for a ceasefire in Gaza.

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