Key progressive group makes first 2018 endorsements

Key progressive group makes first 2018 endorsements
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A key progressive group is making its first round of new congressional endorsements as it looks to boost its allies ahead of potential 2018 clashes with top Republican lawmakers.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) announced Tuesday morning that it would back Democrats Randy Bryce, the Wisconsin ironworker running to take on House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R); Andy Kim, who hopes to challenge Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.); and Katie Porter, who is running for the right to challenge Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.). 

"We’re endorsing Randy Bryce, Andy Kim, and Katie Porter because they are authentic, gut-level economic populists who are instinctively on the side of working people and will inspire voters," Stephanie Taylor, one of the PCCC co-founders, said in her statement announcing the endorsements. 

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"As Republicans embrace [President] Trump as the face of their party, we need inspiring progressives like Randy, Katie, and Andy to be the face of the Democratic Party in order to take back the House in 2018."

Adam Green, the group's other co-founder, added that the three candidates are proof that Democrats don't need to compromise their progressive ideas in order to win in tough districts. 

Bryce made a big splash earlier this year when his announcement video, which touted his working-class roots and his family's reliance on health insurance to treat his mother's multiple sclerosis, went viral.

The ironworker translated that buzz into a flurry of media attention and a big fundraising haul — he brought in more in direct fundraising in the third quarter than any other House candidate challenging an incumbent. He's currently pitted in a primary against Cathy Myers, a local school board representative, but is considered the heavy favorite.

But a bid against the deep-pocketed Ryan will be a heavy climb for either candidate, as House speakers rarely lose reelection. Ryan won his district by almost 35 points in November, while Trump won the district by about 10 points.

Kim, a former Obama administration counterterrorism adviser and Rhodes Scholar, is the heavy favorite in his primary and is expected to advance forward to take on MacArthur. Democrats believe the Republican is far more vulnerable now thanks to his key role in negotiating the House's unpopular, now-defunct plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. But MacArthur won reelection by 20 points in 2016, outrunning President Trump by 14 percentage points in his district. 

Porter is a former law student of progressive heavyweight Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenTrump criticizes Redskins, Indians over potential name changes The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Judd Gregg: The coming Biden coup MORE (D-Mass.) and holds endorsements from both EMILY's List and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Judd Gregg: The coming Biden coup Susan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race MORE (D-Calif.). She co-authored a book with Warren and worked on a number of progressive financial reforms in her home state.  

But the consumer advocate and lawyer has the toughest primary challenge of the three PCCC-endorsed candidates. 

While Porter has raised slightly more money than any other challenger, five candidates have raised over $200,000 so far this year. Having so many well-funded Democratic candidates in one primary could complicate the path.

But Democrats believe she, or another strong candidate, will have a strong change to cut down Walters in the general election after Trump lost the California district by 5 percentage points. 

Days before their endorsements, the three candidates took part in a conference call with PCCC members, where they took questions from staff. 

The endorsement means that the group will help bundle money for the candidates from their members, which could give them a financial boost.