2014 House Challengers and Open Seats
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D, CA-31)
Pete Aguilar is the freshman Representative from California's 31st Congressional District in Congress
He was elected in one of the closest races of the 2014 cycle. Before his election to Congress, Aguilar was the youngest City Council member in Redlands’ history, and has served as Mayor since 2010. As Mayor, Aguilar forged common sense solutions that improved the city’s economy, turned the city’s multi-million dollar deficit into a surplus, created new jobs and strengthened vital services. Aguilar is an outspoken supporter of US efforts to broker a two state peace and has been a strong friend to Israel in the halls of Congress.
Staci Appel (D, IA-3)
Staci Appel is running for Congress in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, which encompasses Des Moines and Council Bluffs and is currently represented by Rep. Tom Latham, who is retiring. Before running for Congress, she served as a state senator and worked as a financial consultant. Staci is a strong supporter of US leadership to achieve Middle East peace and will be a vocal proponent of a two-state outcome once in Congress.
Rep. Don Beyer (D, VA-8)
Don Beyer represents Virginia’s Eighth Congressional District where he succeeded Rep. Jim Moran in 2014. Beyer served two terms as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1998 and was Howard Dean’s national finance chair in 2004. Before running for Congress, Beyer served as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein from 2009 to 2013. Beyer also co-owns nine car dealerships in Northern Virginia. Beyer is a strong supporter of the US-Israel partnership and understands that a two-state solution is crucial to Israel’s survival.
Ann Callis (D, IL-13)
Ann Callis is running against incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis to represent Illinois’ 13th District in the House of Representatives. Before running for Congress, Callis served as Chief Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit and previously served as a prosecutor in the Illinois state attorney’s office. As a judge, Callis earned a reputation as a reformer, creating the first veterans court in the state and instituting a mandatory foreclosure mediation program that has proven effective. She was also a recognized leader on restorative justice and mental health issues. Her campaign priorities include job creation, veterans’ issues and education. Callis strongly supports Israel and Sec. Kerry’s efforts to broker a two-state peace.
Sean Eldridge (D, NY-19)
Sean Eldridge is an investor and political activist in New York's Hudson Valley who is running against incumbent Chris Gibson to represent New York's 19th Congressional District. Eldridge was a national organizer with Students for Barack Obama and then served as the Political Director of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage equality nationwide. In 2011, Eldridge founded Hudson River Ventures, an investment fund that focuses on small businesses in the Hudson Valley region. He previously served on the board of directors of Scenic Hudson, a local environmental group. Eldridge, who is Jewish, has family in Israel and strongly supports the US-Israel alliance and a two-state solution. He has written that "The United States should play a leading role in promoting and convening a successful peace process rooted in a two-state solution."
Rep. Gwen Graham (D, FL-2)
Rep. Gwen Graham is running for re-election in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes parts of Panama City and Tallahassee. She is the daughter of former Florida Senator Bob Graham. Before running for Congress Graham worked as an attorney in private practice and for the Leon County School System. There, her portfolio focused on employee relations, and she worked to ease disputes between the school system’s employees and administration. She has traveled to Israel and is a strong supporter of US leadership to promote a two-state solution. Her victory in 2014 was one of the most major Democratic wins in the country, and J Street is proud to endorse the Congresswoman in what will no doubt be a closely-watched race.
Amanda Renteria (D, CA-21)
Amanda Renteria is running to represent California’s Twenty First Congressional District. The daughter of farmworkers, shortly after college Renteria became a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs, but decided to move to the public sector to work as an economics teacher. Renteria then worked as a Senate staffer for a number of years, serving as the first Latina chief of staff in the Senate, before running for Congress. She strongly supports J Street's principles and will be an outspoken advocate for two states in Washington.
Martha Robertson (D, NY-23)
Martha Robertson is running in New York’s 23rd district to unseat incumbent Rep. Tom Reed. Robertson is the chairwoman of the Tompkins County Legislature in upstate New York and previously worked as an educator and small business owner. Her race has garnered national attention and promises to be one of most contested campaigns of the 2014 cycle. Robertson, who is Jewish, traveled to Israel as a teenager soon after the 1967 War. She is a strong supporter of Israel and a two-state solution. In pledging her commitment to Israeli-Palestinian peace she wrote, “I strongly support a two-state solution that Israelis and Palestinians broker with the critical help of the US, and I am deeply hopeful that Secretary of State Kerry's initiative will bear fruit.”
Aaron Woolf (D, NY-21)
Aaron Woolf is a director and producer running to represent New York’s Twenty First Congressional District, where incumbent Rep. Bill Owens is retiring. In addition to producing films, Woolf operates a locally sourced market specializing in products from the Adirondacks. Woolf's father was on the Board of Tel Aviv University and instilled in him a strong support for Israel and a two-state peace. Woolf's race is likely to be a tight one in this purple district and JStreetPAC is proud to be supporting him.