J Street to launch ad campaign against Iran deal foes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin


WASHINGTON (JTA) — J Street is launching a half million-dollar campaign against two vulnerable Republican senators for their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami on Wednesday will release TV spots to screen in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., are in tight competitive races. A release said the campaign also will include “internet advertising, direct mail and polling.”

The release Monday from the liberal Middle East policy group did not name the states, but Ben-Ami in a conference call on Wednesday identified them as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The group has endorsed Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania and Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.

Ben-Ami said that the group was holding an additional $250,000 in reserve for races in New Hampshire and Illinois, where incumbent Republicans who opposed the deal are in tight races.

J Street spent over $5 million last year in publicity and lobbying in a successful bid to keep Congress from killing the deal, which exchanges sanctions relief for constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

In competitive races in Ohio and Florida, Republicans who opposed the deal are trumpeting their record on Iran. In Ohio, incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, has attempted to tie former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, to the deal.

Iran has become a central foreign policy issue this campaign. In the vice presidential debate Tuesday night, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, repeatedly tussled over whether the Iran nuclear deal stopped Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

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