Major progressive group rolls out first incumbent House endorsement

Major progressive group rolls out first incumbent House endorsement
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Democracy for America has endorsed Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), its first endorsement of a House incumbent for the midterm cycle.

In a release provided first to The Hill, Democracy for America (DFA) commended Gallego for consistently standing up to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Seth McFarlane: Fox News makes me 'embarrassed' to work for this company  'Art of the Deal' co-author: Trump would act like Kim Jong Un if he had the same powers MORE since Trump's November election and praised him for leading the efforts against Trump’s “hateful agenda.”

Gallego isn’t considered vulnerable in 2018. DFA plans to make additional endorsements in support of House challengers later this week.

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“In the early days following Donald Trump’s election, a lot of Democrats hemmed and hawed about working with him. Ruben Gallego was not one of those people,” DFA Chairman Jim Dean said in a statement.

“We need more progressives like Ruben Gallego who are not afraid of taking a stand on their principles, especially when they are doing so alone. Progressives lawmakers have a special responsibility for leadership that sometimes involves dragging their colleagues out of the establishment way of thinking that can envelope them in Washington.” 

The group, which was founded in 2004 by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D), has already been active in House campaigns this cycle and endorsed in almost all of the special elections this year — with the exception of Democrat Archie Parnell, a former Goldman Sachs senior adviser who ran in South Carolina’s open seat race.

DFA backed the Democratic nominees in Georgia, Montana and Kansas, which were special elections held to replace Trump Cabinet nominees. The group also backed Democrat Jimmy Gomez to fill the House seat vacated by now-California Attorney General Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: New controversies cap rough week for Pruitt | Trump 'not happy about certain things' with Pruitt | EPA backtracks on suspending pesticide rule EPA backpedals on suspending pesticide rule following lawsuit Overnight Health Care —Sponsored by PCMA — Spotlight on Trump drug pricing plan MORE. Gomez was the only Democrat to win one of this year's five special elections.

Democrats are looking to flip 24 seats to regain control of the House majority, a tough feat even in a cycle when the party of the president historically loses seats in midterm years. The party was dealt a blow after a disappointing loss in the closely watched Georgia race, but national Democrats believe that the House is in play next year.

DFA has also gotten involved in Senate campaigns and announced its first slate of Senate endorsements earlier this year, backing Sens. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinMembers of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Ellison introduces bill to curb stock buybacks Dem Senate super PAC reserves million in fall TV ads MORE (D-Wis.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownPence knocks Sherrod Brown in Ohio, boosts Renacci On The Money: Trump imposes B in tariffs on China | China blasts 'fickle' Trump, promises payback | Trump to name consumer bureau director next week Bank regulator faces backlash over comments on racism MORE (D-Ohio), Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) Sanders If Congress takes no action, the Social Security trust fund will become depleted in 2034 Ex-campaign manager: Sanders is still eying another presidential bid DNC chair backing plan to cut superdelegates opposed by Dem lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump to nominate budget official as next consumer bureau chief Sessions floats federal law that would protect states that decriminalize marijuana Bank regulator faces backlash over comments on racism MORE (D-Mass.). 

Baldwin and Brown face tough reelection races in states that Trump carried in 2016. Sanders and Warren are expected to easily win new six-year terms next year.

Democrats have a much tougher Senate map in 2018. They need to defend 25 seats, while Republicans need to only protect eight seats.

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