The longtime Democratic congressman is locked in a life or death primary fight and looks to be in some trouble. With Jamaal Bowman breathing down his neck, Engel is counting on boatloads of cash from Republican Super PAC's to save his bacon. As Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Engel has proven to be a valuable ally for conservatives who want to bolster their own interests, Israel's interests chief among them.
Source: The Intercept
A REPUBLICAN SUPER PAC is funding an outside effort to help reelect Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, locked in a tight primary against insurgent Jamaal Bowman.
The super PAC is called Americans for Tomorrow’s Future, following in the proud tradition of nonsensically named political action committees. The connections to the GOP are apparent enough that the Center for Responsive Politics lists it as “Republican/Conservative.” The PAC’s treasurer, David Satterfield, is a former aide to one-time Republican Senate Leader Bill Frist. Satterfield works now at Huckaby Davis Lisker, a prominent firm that does election compliance and accounting work for Republican campaigns. This cycle, the firm is handling the accounts for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, among dozens of other GOP operations.
The PAC, presumably due to its visible Republican ties, is not spending directly in Engel’s New York primary. Instead, it funneled $100,000 to another super PAC, called Democratic Majority for Israel, on May 27. DMFI, a controversial operation inside the Democratic coalition, spent heavily against Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary, with help from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, The Intercept reported in February.
Since cashing the Americans for Tomorrow’s Future check, DMFI has spent more than $600,000 boosting Engel and hitting Bowman on TV, and with digital ads, mailers, and paid phone banking. DMFI has not spent money on any other race since taking money from the GOP operation.
The congressman, who’s been in office for over three decades, is the chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, where he has served since 1994. From that perch, he has been particularly conservative on policy toward Israel, even as the base of the Democratic Party moves leftward on the U.S.-Israel alliance. Pro-Israel groups have contributed more than $1.3 million to Engel over the course of his career. NORPAC, another pro-Israel PAC, is Engel’s second largest contributor this cycle, after the Pro-Israel America PAC, and has given his campaigns $132,509 throughout his career.
A poll out this morning by Data for Progress has Jamaal Bowman up 41-31, with 27% undecided. Engel is getting just 10% of the African-American vote in the predominantly minority district in the Bronx. And just 17% of those under 45 years of age.