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 BaldwinDemocrats turn on Al Franken The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules MORE (D-Ohio), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign 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 TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia 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 DuffyThe Republican tax bill will cut thousands of Puerto Rico jobs Rep. Hensarling will push deregulation until retirement GOP lawmaker: Trump-Tillerson tensions are part of the president's 'strategy' 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.