Summer Lee, a member of 'The Squad', won the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania

First-term Democratic Rep. Summer Lee won her primary in western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, holding off a moderate challenger in a race focused on her stance on the war in Gaza, The Associated Press reported.

The primary presented one of the first down-ballot tests of the year in Pennsylvania's 12th District on whether left-leaning incumbents will be hurt by their opposition to Israel's military campaign. Mrs. After Lee faced months of scrutiny for voting against support for Israel, his victory was seen as a reflection of how public and party sentiment had shifted in his favor on the issue.

The congresswoman won by a landslide in late Tuesday's count, underscoring the strength of her incumbent this year after elevating her opponent with widespread support from Democratic officials.

Ms Lee, who in 2022 became the first black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress, then joined a group of left-wing lawmakers known as the Squad, defeating Pavini Patel, a city councilor from Edgewood, Pa. M. Patel contested. He sought to portray Ms Lee as a more moderate Democrat and dismissive of voters who opposed her approach to the conflict in Gaza. The seat is considered a safe democracy in general elections.

A former state representative, 36-year-old Ms. Lee won a primary in the district two years ago against a centrist opponent favored by the party's establishment. His victory was hailed as a victory for the progressive movement by Left organizations and leaders.

This year, the incumbent Ms. Lee won support across the Democratic Party. His supporters include Pennsylvania's senators, House Democratic leaders, labor unions and the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, which opposed his 2022 candidacy. Progressive groups have spent big on his behalf, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, is his representative in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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With more than 95 percent of the votes counted, he led Ms. Patel by more than 20 points. Mrs. Lee pointed to the victory as proof that “our movement is growing” and condemned those who he said “want to turn this into a referendum on one issue”.

“Our movement is broad enough and big enough for each of us to lay down our arms and cease firing so that we can have peace from Pittsburgh to Palestine,” he said.

In the fall, after Ms. Lee became one of the first Democrats to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, pro-Israel groups showed interest in backing a challenge. But a serious opponent never materialized. AIPAC, a pro-Israel group that backs challenges to some left-wing candidates and has spent heavily against Ms Lee in 2022, has turned its attention elsewhere. Dissatisfaction with Israel's military actions has been rising among Americans in recent months, according to polls.

Still, Ms. Lee drew criticism from some Jewish voters in her district who said they were unhappy with her positions on Israel in the days leading up to the election. Ms. Patel, 30, tried to make her opponent look like she was not sufficiently supportive of President Biden. This fall in Pennsylvania, a key swing state, Mr. Ms Lee has vowed to rally her coalition to support Mr Biden.

Ms. Lee and his colleagues, Ms. Patel's endorsement came from Jeff Yass, a major Republican donor in Pennsylvania. The group ran advertisements on behalf of Mr. Yass and Ms. Patel, who refused his support.

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“We didn't get the result we wanted tonight, but this match is far from lost,” Ms Patel said in a statement on social media. “While our campaign may end tonight, our mission continues,” he added.

During the primary, Ms. Lee often touted her record in Congress, including bringing federal dollars to the district, supporting a more diverse Democratic Party and framing her candidacy against Trump-aligned Republicans. He raised Mrs. Patel very high. During the last fundraising quarter, M.S. Lee, MS. He charged more than three times what Patel did.

Speaking to an energetic crowd in downtown Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, Mrs. Lee also promised to support his fellow team members who are facing challenges across the country.

“We're going to send a message to our Congress, we're going to send a message to our nation, the direction we want our country to go — our coalition — the coalition now and the coalition. The future,” she said.

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