WASHINGTON (JTA) – David Harris is leaving his job as president of the National Jewish Democratic Council.
"With the confidence of knowing that I’ve accomplished key goals here at NJDC that are central to our mission, I’m very much looking forward to new professional challenges and directions," Harris said in a statement released Wednesday after he announced his decision to the body’s board.
Harris has helmed the group since 2009 and has worked to counter Republican efforts depicting President Obama as unfriendly to Israel.
Exit polling suggested a drop-off in Jewish support for Obama, with the president garnering 69 percent of Jewish votes in 2012, down from 78 percent in 2008, though some argue that his proportion of the vote four years ago was actually 74 percent.
NJDC’s spending during the 2012 election topped $1 million, but was dwarfed by the over $6 million spent by its counterpart, the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Harris and NJDC made headlines this summer when Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and prominent Republican funder, sued the group and its leaders for repeating an allegation that he allowed prostitutes to work his properties in Macau, China.
That suit has yet to be settled, and Harris would not comment on it.
Harris, 43, previously was executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition and was NJDC’s deputy executive director from 1999 to 2006.
Harris, in an interview, said that he would explore consulting with Jewish and non-Jewish organizations.
NJDC’s chairman, Marc Stanley, said he was "surprised and genuinely sorry" about Harris’ announcement.
"It’s been such a pleasure working so closely with David for many years," he said. "For more than a decade, he has committed himself wholly to NJDC’s cause, with stellar results."