Progressive Summer Lee declares victory by narrow margin in AP primary

Summer Lee declared victory in the Democratic primary race to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district in the U.S. House on Tuesday night, expressing confidence that the remaining uncounted votes will favor her campaign over that of the attorney. of business Steve Irwin.

“We built a movement in western Pennsylvania that took corporate power.”

With 93% of the precinct returns, Lee holds a 446-vote lead over Irwin, a Republican former U.S. Senate staffer who benefited from the super PAC money that poured into the district on the home stretch of the contest. . Irwin did not concede defeat as the race remains too close to be officially announced.

United Democracy Project (UDP), a super PAC founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), has spent nearly $3 million in recent weeks to boost Irwin and attack Lee, a progressive state official who supports Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and Palestinian Rights.

“The people took on the companies and the people won,” Lee said in a statement. “We built a movement in western Pennsylvania that took corporate power, stood up for working families and fought back a multimillion-dollar smear campaign.”

“It was never just one candidate, it was about the people of this district who have been left behind by companies that put their profits before our lives,” she added. “Today is a new way forward for everyone in the Commonwealth, no one is left behind.”

PA United, a group that has carried out a major on-the-ground operation for Lee alongside the Justice Democrats and the Working Families Party, said Wednesday morning that “as a longtime leader of the progressive movement and the first black woman to be elected State representative in Western PA, Summer’s campaign energized a strong multiracial working class base and once again defeated the political machine.”

“Summer Lee has proven that money is surmountable when you organize and run on a progressive platform.”

“PA United is proud to have helped Summer Lee overcome massive spending from opponents and AIPAC and to have helped energize his ground game,” the organization added. “The supercharged pitch program likely provided the margin of victory – knocking on over 30,000 doors, calling over 35,000 people and sending 25,000 text messages to help secure a win. PA United will continue to support Representative Lee until in November the election and as she gets to work in Congress next year.”

The youth-led Sunrise Movement, which also spearheaded a rally for Lee in Pennsylvania’s 12th District, said in a statement that “this election pits people power against millions of dollars, and. .. Summer Lee has proven that money is surmountable when you organize and run on a progressive platform.”

“Youth and workers have been able to defeat the Super PACs through local organizing,” said Varshini Prakash, executive director of the group. “We showed our power, we knocked on doors, we called voters and we decided this election.”

If his victory is confirmed, Lee will face Republican Mike Doyle, the chairman of the board of Plum, Pa., who ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

“We got here through people power,” Lee said at his election party on Tuesday night.