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Harry Dunn, Capitol Cop During Jan. 6 Attack, Loses Primary In Bid For House Seat

Harry Dunn, who endured racist abuse while serving as a U.S. Capitol police officer during the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, fell short on Tuesday in his bid for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District.

Maryland state Sen. Sarah Elfreth defeated Dunn — and a host of less formidable candidates — with critical help from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, whose super PAC spent more than $4.2 million boosting her bid. Those funds, which materialized in April, helped Elfreth offset Dunn’s direct fundraising advantage. While Elfreth’s campaign denied that she’d courted AIPAC specifically, her campaign had invited outside support, flagging points super PACs should make about her on a webpage that was later deleted.

Elfreth is now the prohibitive favorite to represent the suburban Baltimore/Washington, D.C.-area seat in Congress. The district is solidly Democratic and historically not competitive in general elections.

Elfreth is likely to legislate as a mainstream liberal. She ran as a champion of abortion rights and gun safety measures, priorities she has backed in the state’s Democratic legislature.

“My top priority is delivering for this community,” she says in a TV spot, before listing off some of her union endorsements.

Dunn’s defeat is a victory for right-leaning pro-Israel groups, and it highlights the ability of a single, well-funded super PAC to radically disrupt a congressional race, even when its intended target is a folk hero. This election cycle, as Israel’s invasion of Gaza has divided the Democratic Party, the super PAC spending of AIPAC and like-minded pro-Israel groups has been more pivotal in Democratic House primaries than outside money from virtually any other sector.


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