Major progressive group endorses in four competitive California races

Major progressive group endorses in four competitive California races
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A leading progressive group announced endorsements for Democratic challengers in four California House races that are considered some of the party's top-priority seats to flip in 2018.

Democracy for America is throwing its support behind Democratic candidates running to unseat California GOP Reps. Steve Knight, Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherGOP lawmaker says rocks falling into ocean to blame for rising sea levels Dems step up efforts to avoid California primary shutouts House Dems boost spending in key California races MORE, Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceDem peace deal reached in crucial House district Dems step up efforts to avoid California primary shutouts House Dems boost spending in key California races MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDems step up efforts to avoid California primary shutouts House Dems boost spending in key California races NC Republican pressed on Trump in primary showdown MORE, who all represent districts won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonStopping Robert Mueller to protect us all Hillary Clinton hits Trump, pulls out Russian hat during Yale speech Giuliani: Mueller plans to wrap up Trump obstruction probe by Sept. 1 MORE in 2016. The group believes focusing on these four races will be essential if Democrats want to regain control of the House next year.

“Victories across California in 2018 are going to be absolutely critical to Democrats’ chances of taking back the House and gaining the political power necessary to confront and defeat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJuan Williams: Trump gives life to the left Kennedy retirement rumors shift into overdrive Pompeo to outline post-deal strategy on Iran MORE’s bigoted and oligarchic agenda,” Democracy for America Chairman Jim Dean said in a statement to The Hill.

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“By sending Bryan Caforio, Laura Oatman, Sam Jammal and Mike Levin to Congress, Californians will have the new warriors they need to fight back and Democracy for America members couldn’t be more excited to stand with them every step of the way,” he said.

Caforio, an attorney, has launched a rematch bid after running against Knight last cycle. Despite Clinton winning the district by more than 6 points, Knight defeated Caforio by nearly the same margin. The race drew heavy outside spending last cycle, which will likely happen again in 2018.

Oatman, who is challenging Rohrabacher, is an architect and business owner. Clinton won the district by nearly 2 points. Rohrabacher, who has been in Congress for nearly three decades and is known for his pro-Russia stance, has drawn a handful of Democratic challengers.

Jammal, a former Obama official, is running to unseat Royce, who’s been in Congress for more than two decades. Clinton won Royce’s district by more than 8 points. But Jammal will also need to compete in a crowded primary for the nomination, and several other major Democratic groups including EMILY’s List and VoteVets have endorsed other challengers in the primary.

Levin is an environmental attorney challenging Issa. Clinton won Issa’s district by more than 7 points. Levin will face Doug Applegate, who lost to Issa by less than a point in 2016, in the primary, as well as Paul Kerr. But Levin and Applegate have already been exchanging sharp attacks at one another.

GOP-held districts like these four in southern California will be critical for Democrats to win as they seek to flip 24 seats to take back the House.

This isn’t the only race in California where Democracy for America plans to be active.

The group also endorsed California Senate Pro Tem President Kevin de León’s (D) bid against longtime Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinCongress — when considering women’s health, don’t forget about lung cancer Overnight Energy: Pruitt taps man behind 'lock her up' chant for EPA office | Watchdog to review EPA email policies | Three Republicans join climate caucus Man who coined 'lock her up' chant to lead EPA's Pacific Southwest office MORE (D-Calif.). Progressives are looking to unseat Feinstein in 2018, arguing she hasn’t held Trump accountable.

But a recent poll shows she has a comfortable lead over de León.