Progressive group backs new Feinstein challenger

Progressive group backs new Feinstein challenger
© Camille Fine

A progressive group committed to taking on incumbent Democrats in primaries has backed a challenger to Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms Trump pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif.).

Justice Democrats, a group led by the progressive journalist Cenk Uygur, announced its support Thursday for Feinstein challenger Alison Hartson.


Hartson, a community organizer, is a former teacher who now serves as the national director for the “Wolf PAC” political action committee. Uygur, who co-founded the progressive The Young Turks media network, also co-founded Wolf PAC. 

Liberals have been weighing bids against the California senator, who they believe hasn’t held President Trump accountable. But any candidate will face an uphill battle against Feinstein, who has been in the Senate since 1992.

“We can't expect change from people like Dianne Feinstein who helped to create this corrupt system,” Hartson said in a statement. “We can't wait for some progressive ideas to happen 20 years from now. We need a democracy that works for people and we need it now."

Feinstein already faces a primary challenge from California Senate Pro Tem President Kevin de León (D), who has already received some support from major progressive groups. Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer is still mulling a Senate run and has been raising his profile with his national impeachment campaign against Trump.

Justice Democrats was founded by Uygur and former staffers on Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocratic strategist: 'Medicare for All' exposes generational gap within party Yang expands campaign with senior hires for digital operations Biden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign. The group will offer financial support for Hartson and give her campaign access to its donor list.

Hartson plans to campaign on support for a minimum wage hike to $15, free public colleges and trade schools and a single-payer health care system. 

Uygur, who will serve as an adviser to Hartson’s campaign, argued in a statement that Feinstein’s politics are out of touch with California and believe Hartson can be a fresh face for the liberal bastion.