Summer Lee’s campaign raised more than $1 million in the fourth quarter

The haul represents the biggest single quarter for the freshman member of Congress from Western Pennsylvania

By: - January 25, 2024 5:00 am

Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-12th District (photo via Summer Lee campaign)

PITTSBURGH— Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-12th District) said Thursday her reelection campaign raised more than $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2023, marking her biggest fundraising quarter to date, with 90% of the contributions for amounts under $250. Her campaign has raised more than $1.4 million this cycle, and says it now has more than $1.15 million cash on hand. 

“A Republican-funded Super PAC threatened to spend $100 million against us – and our grassroots people-powered movement has responded loud and clear,” Lee said in a statement. “I am so proud of the multigenerational, mulitracial movement we have built in Western Pennsylvania to protect and expand our democracy – it is our greatest defense against the dark money Super PACs and corporate lobbies who seek to undermine it. They have Donald Trump and Nikki Haley’s donors, we have the overwhelming power of the people.”

Lee referred to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which reportedly planned to target spending against a group of progressive Democrats in 2024, including Cori Bush of Missouri and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Lee was the only freshman member of Congress on the list. 

She was the first Black woman ever elected to represent Pennsylvania in Congress, following a bruising campaign in 2022, when AIPAC-funded super PAC United Democracy Project backed Lee’s opponents in the primary and general elections, including ads suggesting she was not a good Democrat.  

UDP received contributions in 2022 from several prominent Republican donors, Lee’s campaign noted, including Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus, who each gave $1 million, and Jan Koum, who gave $2 million, Federal Election Commission filings show.  

According to Lee’s campaign, the latest fourth-quarter total does not include any corporate PAC money. Detailed campaign finance reports for the fourth quarter are due out at the end of the month. 

In the current race for the Democratic nomination for the 12th District, candidate Bhavini Patel, a member of the Edgewood Borough council in Allegheny County, is challenging Lee. Patel raised $310,000 in the fourth quarter, with 64% of donations under $250, her campaign announced earlier this month. 

The other Democratic primary challenger is Laurie MacDonald, president and CEO of the Center for Victims, who describes her views as “moderate.” MacDonald announced her candidacy on Jan. 8.

Rep. Summer Lee garners endorsements from Democratic House leadership

Last week, Lee received endorsements for her reelection campaign from the top U.S. House Democratic leadership, including House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Whip Katherine Clark (MA-15), and Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (CA-33). 

“Since her first days in Congress, Summer has been a fighter For The People – working to keep our communities safe, create good-paying union jobs and protect fundamental rights like reproductive freedom,” the three said in a joint statement. “We proudly endorse Summer Lee’s re-election campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives so she can help us take back the House majority, oppose the extreme MAGA Republican agenda and continue our tremendous progress for Pennsylvanians.”

Lee’s supporters also include more than two dozen state and local Democrats, including Pennsylvania U.S. Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, and Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato, who was elected to the Pennsylvania House along with Lee in 2018, as part of a progressive “blue wave.”

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly

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