Major progressive group unveils first 2018 Senate endorsements

Major progressive group unveils first 2018 Senate endorsements
© Greg Nash

Progressive group Democracy for America (DFA) on Friday unveiled its first round of midterm endorsements, supporting four senators up for reelection in 2018.

DFA announced it is backing Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees 10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in Trump country MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war MORE (D-Ohio), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (D-Mass.).

The group, which was founded in 2004 by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), argues that these four senators will stand up to President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE and hold his new administration accountable.

“As we continue to elect exciting new leaders to the U.S. Senate like 2016 winners Catherine Cortez-Masto, Tammy Duckworth and Kamala Harris, it’s absolutely essential that we ensure Baldwin, Brown, Warren, and Sanders return to the US Senate in 2019 to fight the Trump agenda and build an economy that delivers for the working class,” DFA chair Jim Dean said.

Senate Democrats have a rough map in 2018 as they embark on an uphill battle for regaining the majority in the upper chamber. They need to defend 23 seats — including two seats held by Independents who caucus with the party. Meanwhile, Republicans need to only protect eight seats.

Ten of the seats Democrats must defend are in states carried by Trump in the 2016 election, which included Brown's and Baldwin’s. Trump carried Ohio by 8 points and delivered an even bigger surprise by winning Wisconsin, which hadn’t gone red since the 1984 election.

Brown has already drawn a challenger: Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel. Mandel is seeking a rematch against Brown, after unsuccessfully challenging him in 2012. But it’s still early and other Republicans are potentially eyeing the seat.

No declared challenger has materialized against Baldwin, but Rep. Sean DuffySean Patrick DuffyLongtime manager of Bon Iver to run for Congress in Wisconsin: report GOP rep: We want DACA bill, but Dems want ‘an open border’ The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Wis.) is reportedly weighing a bid.

Sanders and Warren, two progressive stalwarts, will likely face an easier path to reelection. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (R) is weighing a challenge against Warren.

DFA has previously contributed to Brown and Baldwin’s Senate campaigns. The group also tried to draft Warren to run for president in 2016 and eventually endorsed Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary.