Jewish Democrats found superPAC to counter GOP Jewish campaigning

Ron Kampeas

PHILADELPHIA (JTA) — Jewish Democrats are setting up a “superPAC” to defend Hillary Clinton and other candidates from they say will be a Sheldon Adelson-funded onslaught among Jewish voters.

“Jews for Progress” has raised over $1 million over the last two months, one of its founders, Ron Klein, a former Florida congressman who consults with Democrats, confirmed to JTA on Monday.

Also backing the superPAC – a term that describes a political action committee that may raise unlimited funds – are Marc Stanley, a past chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, and Michael Adler, a Miami lawyer who is a major fund-raiser for Democratic candidates.

“Sheldon Adelson is indicating he will put $25 million into the Republican Jewish Coalition’s message machine which in the past has provided lies and distortions at the presidential all the way to congressional races,” Klein said.

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He said the PAC would focus on swing states where Jewish populations could make the difference, including Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado.

Jewish Insider first reported the establishment of the PAC, after Stanley on Monday made a presentation to the Pennsylvania delegation to the Democratic National Convention underway this week in Philadelphia. The PAC will formally launch at the convention on Thursday.

It was not clear what the source was for Jews for Progress’ claim that Adelson is ready to spend $25 million. Matt Brooks, the RJC’s director, would not comment on what his organization’s affiliated PAC had planned for this electoral cycle.

A substantial majority of Jews – about 70 percent – continue to vote Democratic, although the RJC has made inroads in some election years by canvassing Jewish areas in swing states with flyers, as well as targeted web ads, robocalls, ads in Jewish media and cable TV ads. Jewish backing for President Barack Obama dropped from 2008-2012, from about 75 percent to 69 percent.

Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate, pro-Israel philanthropist and backer of Republican candidates, is a major RJC giver.

Brooks noted that NJDC figures like Stanley had in the past derided RJC spending efforts to move the Jewish vote.

“After years of downplaying our significant success, it’s nice to see they’re acknowledging it and trying to copy us, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” he said.