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 BaldwinOvernight Health Care: Over 7,000 fail to meet Medicaid work rules in Arkansas | Judge temporarily halts deportations of reunited families | GOP chair in talks over restarting ObamaCare payments Dem senator calls for 'permanent' price cuts at Pfizer Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate rips his own parents for donations to Dems MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump walks back criticism of UK Brexit strategy | McConnell worries US in 'early stages' of trade war | US trade deficit with China hits new record Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices could offer a way forward in fight against mushrooming costs MORE (D-Ohio), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersShowtime says Sacha Baron Cohen did not dress as 'disabled veteran' 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser Ocasio-Cortez floating progressive sub-caucus MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser Senate Dems rip Trump after Putin news conference Sanders: Trump should confront Putin over Mueller probe indictments 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 TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit 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 DuffyProxy advisors do need to be regulated Fox News contributor: Black people tell me conditions in border detention centers 'are better than some of the projects' Trump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally 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.