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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 RohrabacherVulnerable Republicans throw ‘Hail Mary’ on pre-existing conditions Poll: Dems lead in 5 critical California House seats Overnight Health Care — Presented By National Partnership for Women & Families — Senate sends opioid package to Trump's desk | Drug companies fear Dem Congress | Premiums for employer plans rise MORE, Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceDems struggle to mobilize Latino voters for midterms America’s defense forward swagger Poll: Dems lead in 5 critical California House seats MORE and Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Poll: Dems lead in 5 critical California House seats In quest for majority, Dems swarm McCarthy’s home state MORE, who all represent districts won by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton on if Bill should’ve resigned over Lewinsky scandal: ‘Absolutely not’ Electoral battle for Hispanics intensifies in Florida Trump adds campaign stops for Senate candidates in Montana, Arizona, Nevada 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 TrumpTrump: 'I don't trust everybody in the White House' JPMorgan CEO withdraws from Saudi conference Trump defends family separations at border 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 FeinsteinTop Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace: I told Jeb Bush 'he should have punched' Trump 'in the face' Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight 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.