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 RohrabacherWill Congress side with Trump or Sessions on medical marijuana rider? Only 2 vulnerable House Republicans want Trump's help with campaign: report Former Orange County GOP chairman to challenge Rohrabacher: report MORE, Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceTrump rolls the dice on North Korea Tom Steyer announces M effort to bring out young voters in Florida, California Why did this administration back the Palestine Liberation Organization in terrorism case? MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaWeek ahead: Tech flocks to SXSW festival Tom Steyer announces M effort to bring out young voters in Florida, California Court grapples with warrant powers for emails stored overseas MORE, who all represent districts won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump can save Republicans and restore sanity to California in 2018 Breitbart News denies readership drop, alt-right label Mellman: The next war 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 TrumpHouse expected to vote on omnibus Thursday afternoon House passes 'right to try' drug bill Spending bill rejects Trump’s proposed EPA cut MORE’s bigoted and oligarchic agenda,” Democracy for America Chairman Jim Dean said in a statement to The Hill.

“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 FeinsteinJeh Johnson: Media focused on 'Access Hollywood' tape instead of Russian meddling ahead of election What’s genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to Trump Coalition presses Transportation Dept. for stricter oversight of driverless cars 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.