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J Street: Proactive Peace... A NW Alliance Portal

The eight tightest Senate races in the country are all being fought.


J Street

The eight tightest Senate races in the country are all being fought.

The past two years have been an excruciating lesson in just how important Senate victories are. From protecting democracy to securing priorities, it’s vital that we protect and expand a pro-democracy majority in 2022.

The good news? Polling averages currently show a dead heat.

Below, we’ve listed eight top races, including four proud incumbents and four strong challengers.

Control of the Senate and the future of our democracy may hinge on whether our endorsees have the resources they need to secure victory this November.

Laura Birnbaum
National Political Director, JStreetPAC

Learn more about Sen Catherine Cortez Masto.

Nevada is the most vulnerable, must-win seat in order to fortify the Senate’s pro-democracy majority. A proud defender of human rights and democratic values, Catherine Cortez Masto faces a white-knuckle challenge from Trump endorsee and enthusiastic Big Lie supporter Adam Laxalt.

This top competitive race will likely attract vast sums from right-wing mega-donors, so it’s vitally important that the Cortez Masto campaign has the resources to fight back. Current polling averages reflect an extremely tight race, with Laxalt lagging by just 1.6%.

Learn more about Sen. Raphael Warnock here.

Raphael Warnock’s triumphant victory alongside Jon Ossoff in the Georgia runoff elections helped secure Democratic control of the Senate in 2021. After two years as a proud J Street champion, we need to ensure Warnock holds the seat and keeps his dangerous, Trump-endorsed opponent as far away from the Senate as possible.

A far-right extremist, Herschel Walker supports criminalizing abortion without exception, has a record of lies and falsehoods rivaling even Donald Trump, and has been accused of serious incidents of domestic violence. Despite this, polling averages show Warnock holds only a narrow lead -- 46.9% to 44.2% -- and will need a well-resourced campaign to win in November.

Learn more about Cheri Beasley here.

Former North Carolina Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is locked in a neck-and-neck battle against Trump endorsee Ted Budd as the pair race to replace retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr. In Congress, she’d be a proud fighter for our values and a crucial extra vote in the Senate.

For more than two months, Beasley’s strong campaign has been closing the gap and erasing her opponent’s early lead to the point where the polling average is now 44% to 44%. J Street members are working to make sure this momentum continues and that Beasley’s campaign has the resources to overtake her opponent and flip the seat in November.

Learn more about Mandela Barnes here.

Fresh off his primary victory in Wisconsin, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes is ramping up a strong challenge against incumbent Senator and election conspiracy theorist Ron Johnson. With Barnes successfully positioning himself as a fighter for democratic values and everyday Wisconsinites, Senator Johnson remains engulfed in controversy. Recent polls currently show Barnes with a slight edge over Johnson.

Senator Johnson has been accused of trafficking in the deadly, antisemitic ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory and was a leading proponent of Donald Trump’s Big Lie in the Senate. The House January 6 committee recently revealed that Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver a slate of fake Trump electors to Vice President Mike Pence. A victory for Barnes will send a powerful message in support of Democracy and secure a crucial extra vote in the Senate.

Learn more about Congressman Tim Ryan here.

Congressman Tim Ryan is running an impressively strong Senate campaign in the swing state of Ohio -- so much so that even Republicans have remarked on it. The long-time J Street endorsee is running against JD Vance, an unapologetic nationalist who’s come under fire for trafficking in the dangerous, anti-immigrant, antisemitic ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory.

Keeping Vance out of Congress is a top priority for J Street. A true believer in aligning US policy with the Israeli right, Vance recently took time away from the campaign trail to travel to a right-wing conference in Israel where he shared a stage with settlement-movement activists and others who spoke in favor of annexation. Polls show Ryan has a 4.5% lead over Vance, but in the increasingly red state of Ohio, he’ll need sustained support to win the seat.

Learn more about Sen. Maggie Hassan here.

Fortifying Senator Maggie Hassan’s seat in New Hampshire is a top priority for our movement. Hassan is one of the four most vulnerable pro-democracy, pro-diplomacy incumbents this cycle, with her current four-point lead expected to narrow when Republicans select a challenger and begin pouring resources into the race.

Likely opponents include Chuck Morse, Kevin Smith or Don Bolduc, candidates who appear united in seeking to attack Americans’ freedoms and undermine our democracy. J Street members are helping Senator Hassan solidify her lead and ensure we keep a strong defender of diplomacy, justice and human rights in the Senate.

Learn more about Sen. Mark Kelly here.

Having won a special election with J Street’s strong support in 2020, former astronaut Mark Kelly is again up for re-election. This time, Kelly is facing off against Donald Trump’s hand-picked anti-democratic candidate, Blake Masters.

Described as “King of the Trolls” by POLITICO, Masters is currently under fire for his ties to the antisemitic, Christian nationalist GAB CEO Andrew Torba. It’s vital we keep Masters out of Congress.

Married to former Congresswoman and gun-violence campaigner Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly has built a strong reputation in Arizona and maintains an 11-point lead over Masters. J Street members are helping Kelly solidify that lead, and ensuring Masters is kept out of Congress.

Learn more about John Fetterman here.

Pennsylvania’s ​​Lt. Governor John Fetterman burst onto the scene as an unconventional, working-class progressive earlier this year in the race to replace retiring GOP Senator Pat Toomey. He’s facing off against faded TV personality Mehmet Oz in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country.

After hammering Oz for being an out-of-touch, out-of-state celebrity candidate, Fetterman is now running 11 points ahead at 49% to 38% making this race one of the best opportunities for a flipped Senate seat in the country. J Street members are supporting the Fetterman campaign so they can keep up the momentum and continue to prosecute their successful strategy right up until election day.


© 2022 J Street | |

J Street is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people. Working in American politics and the Jewish community, we advocate policies that advance shared US and Israeli interests as well as Jewish and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

J Street organizes and mobilizes pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people.  Working in American politics and the Jewish community, we advocate for policies that advance shared US and Israeli interests as well as Jewish and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In case you missed it, Yuval Diskin, the most recent head of the Shin Bet, stated publicly that he has "no faith" in the ability of the current Israeli leadership to handle the Iranian nuclear threat1.

He went on to say that his government has no interest in talking with the Palestinians, period. It certainly has no interest in resolving anything with the Palestinians, period.

And the current head of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told Haaretz that, "the Iranian leadership is comprised of very rational people." He added, "Iran is moving step-by-step towards a point where it will be able to decide if it wants to make a nuclear bomb. It has not decided yet whether to go the extra mile2."

These forthright statements contradict not just the Israeli government but conventional wisdom in the American Jewish community.

They remind me of a lament I hear all too frequently: Why can't debate in the U.S. about Israel be as open and broad as it is in Israel itself?

This dynamic was highlighted when a Jewish American with perhaps the largest media platform in the world, Paul Krugman, acknowledged that he hesitates to talk about the suicidal path Israel is on out of fear of the "buzzsaw of criticism" that would follow.3

And we saw it again when a controversial Sixty Minutes segment (on the declining percentage of Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Territory) generated a massive campaign against the show and network for airing the program.

I am convinced the American conversation on Israel would be better and we'd stand a better chance of solving real problems “ from Iran to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “ if those in charge of the buzzsaw would listen to and engage what's being said by Israeli - and American - critics, rather than immediately seeking to discredit them.

On Iran, they could listen to the many military and intelligence experts who say a pre-emptive military strike is ill-advised.

On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they could listen to President Shimon Peres4 or former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert5 who have both said that Mahmoud Abbas is a "partner for peace."

Perhaps then they'd hear Abbas's offer to reach a two-state deal if Israel would stop settlement construction for just 2-3 months and agree to a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines with swaps.

Let's stop saying that people who disagree with the government of Israel or with established Jewish voices in this country automatically are self-hating or anti-Israel.

Perhaps all of us could agree to do a little more listening and engaging, and a little less name-calling and grandstanding.

Let's have the debate that Israel's supporters really should be having: what really is in the best interests of the United States and Israel right now and how can we best support Israel in this complex environment?

Thank you,

[1] - Yuval Diskin, Israel Former Intel Chief, Slams Netanyahu's Iran Stance, Huffington Post
[2] - IDF chief to Haaretz: I do not believe Iran will decide to develop nuclear weapons, Haaretz
[3] - An Open Letter to Paul Krugman, J Street
[4] - Peres to Haaretz: Israel could reach a peace deal with Abbas, Haaretz
[5] - Olmert to U.S. Jews: Israel has a partner for peace, Haaretz


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