By Hallie Lauer
Allegheny County executive candidate Sara Innamorato on Wednesday denounced statements by the Democratic Socialists of America about last weekend’s Hamas attack on Israel and said she broke with the far-left group years ago.
“I strongly denounce the recent anti-Israel actions and statements of national and local DSA chapters, which coldly ignores the gruesome attacks on innocent Israelis,” Ms. Innamorato, the Democratic nominee for county executive in the Nov. 7 election, wrote in a social media post. “Anti-semitism is a real and deadly issue and as we approach the fifth anniversary of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, I’m focused on how we can build a county that provides safety and stability for all.”
Her comments came amid growing pressure for her to clarify her affiliation with the group. The Pittsburgh chapter of the DSA on Tuesday called for ending U.S. military aid to Israel. It also said that “violent opposition is the inevitable response to the conditions imposed by Israeli occupation.”
“Israel has a right to defend itself while minimizing civilian casualties,” Ms. Innamorato said Wednesday. “Additionally, I support a plan that offers safe passage out of Gaza for civilians because Hamas also uses innocent Palestinians as human shields.”
She also said that she hasn’t “been affiliated with the DSA since 2019.”
That marked the first time Ms. Innamorato has publicly said she left the DSA. Ms. Innamorato was a member of the organization when she was first elected to the Pennsylvania state House in 2018. She resigned over the summer to focus on her campaign for executive.
Since announcing her candidacy for the county’s top elected office, Ms. Innamorato has faced questions about her ties to the DSA. In the first debate of the general election last month, she was asked directly about her affiliation with the group and whether she is a socialist.
Ms. Innamorato did not, at the time, say she hadn’t been affiliated with the group in years. She did say that she is not a socialist, instead calling herself a “pragmatic progressive.”
Her social media post Wednesday went on to “urge my opponent to stay focused on who is actually being harmed in the conflict in Israel and Gaza instead of trying to score cheap political points off of people’s pain.”
Earlier on Wednesday, her GOP opponent Joe Rockey said on social media that “a lukewarm rejection of the attacks isn’t enough from Sara. She needs to renounce the enablers in DSA and stand with the Jewish people.”
After the attack over the weekend, Ms. Innamorato took to social media to condemn the “horrifying and brutal terroristic attacks” by Hamas.
“Many of us in Allegheny County and worldwide are watching this moment with apprehension and fear as violence escalates,” she said in a post Monday. “Like many, my hope is for peace to prevail through diplomacy that ends the cycle of violence.”
Mr. Rockey has called out Ms. Innamorato multiple times on social media over the past few days for her affiliation with DSA and the organization’s “anti-Israel stand.”
Many traditional Democrats, Mr. Rockey’s campaign said in a statement Tuesday, “find themselves alienated by Innamorato’s attempts to distract from her DSA roots.”
“It shouldn’t take this kind of teeth-pulling to get a candidate to split with organizations that justify mass murder,” Mr. Rockey’s spokesperson said. “Allegheny County needs someone who takes the right position when it matters, not when they’re cornered.”