Mandel goes on offensive in Congressional race, criticizes Matsui for not meeting with people seeking Gaza ceasefire

In the final days before the March 5 California Primary, Democratic Congressional candidate David Mandel has sent a mailer featuring a cornerstone of his campaign - a call for a Gaza ceasefire. Mandel is one of two candidates challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Doris Matsui for California's Seventh Congressional District.

The front of the half-page mailer are the Palestinian colors red, white, green, and black (the background) that says in all caps, "Ceasefire Now Free Gaza Vote Mandel." On the flip side, Mandel states Matsui has refused to meet with community members seeking a ceasefire. 

The mailer also includes statistics about displacement, deaths, and attacks on Gaza hospitals. After citing the numbers, it says, "And still, Representative Matsui refuses to even meet with our community members and call for a ceasefire. Enough is enough!" 

A human rights attorney, Mandel self-identifies as "a Jewish voice for Palestinian justice and to represent Sacramentans who want to end US support for genocide." Additionally, Mandel's mailer offers support for Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D - Mich.), the first Palestinian-American elected to Congress, and notes he will stand by her and other representatives supporting the call for a ceasefire "and join in their calls for justice."

Although Matsui is expected to advance to the November primary, Mandel could outpace the third candidate for the seat, Republican Tom Silva. The Gaza ceasefire issue has become a concern for many Democratic candidates, most notably President Joe Biden.

While Biden easily won this week's Michigan primary, there were over 100,000 uncommitted Democratic voters. In 2020, Biden won Michigan, a crucial swing state, by 154,000 votes.  

The number of uncommitted Democratic votes in Michigan is raising concern about Biden's vulnerability on the ceasefire issue in a state that has a sizable Muslim population who largely supported him four years ago. The loss of this bloc on the ceasefire issue could affect his prospects this November.

Additionally, the Gaza ceasefire is an issue of concern for many under-35 Democratic voters who played an important role in Biden's 2020 victory. They could skip this election if they sense Biden is not pressing for a ceasefire.   

One Democratic male under 35 person of color voter who asked to be identified as Guillermo said the calls for a ceasefire are appealing within his peer group and are influencing who they vote for, including a possible Mandel-Matsui race. 

Asked if he feels this issue could sway elections, he added, "It depends if they go vote or not." 

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