Progressive group unveils first slate of 2020 congressional endorsements

Progressive group unveils first slate of 2020 congressional endorsements
© Greg Nash

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), a prominent progressive advocacy group, unveiled its first congressional endorsements for the 2020 cycle on Tuesday. 

The endorsements, which come the same night as Americans in several states are voting in local and statewide races, focus on flipping Republican seats, keeping seats that Democrats flipped in 2018 and promoting progressive candidates in safely blue districts.

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“Tonight's competitive elections in red and purple states show that we have the wind at our backs. We're utilizing this big Election Night to say we must do three things down ballot in 2020: Keep seats we flipped in 2020, flip more red seats and prepare for a progressive presidency by replacing conservative Democrats in blue districts with more bold progressives,” said PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor.

The PCCC endorsed three challengers to Republican incumbents, including two who narrowly lost their House bids last year.

The group endorsed Kara Eastman in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, JD Scholten in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District and Dana Balter in New York’s 24th Congressional District. 

Eastman and Scholten came within roughly 2 and 3 points, respectively, of winning their races in the same districts in 2018. Balter lost to Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoDemocrats release bilingual ads on police reform bill Lawmakers introduce legislation to establish national cybersecurity director Progressives riding high as votes tabulated in NY, Kentucky MORE (R-N.Y.) last year by a little more than 5 points, though Democrats have expressed optimism about the district, which Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden leads Trump in Florida, tied in Arizona and Texas: poll We haven't seen how low it can go There's a big blue wave coming MORE won in 2016.

The group also backed Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Mike Levin, both of whom flipped suburban districts in California in 2018 and worked with the PCCC in the midterms.

Besides endorsing challengers to Republicans, the PCCC also backed four Democrats challenging Democratic incumbents, saying “A real progressive should be in these blue seats!”

The group endorsed Jessica Cisneros, who is taking on Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas; Arati Kreibich, who is challenging Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention New Jersey Rep. Gottheimer wins House primary New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries MORE in New Jersey; Morgan Harper, who is running against Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattySanders raised over 0,000 for candidates in Tuesday primaries The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives raise expectations ahead of big primary night Left eyes huge night in NY, Kentucky primaries MORE in Ohio; and Marie Newman, who is campaigning to unseat Dan Lipinski in Illinois.

The list underlines some of the most high-profile intraparty fights — Cuellar has taken flak from progressives for his A-rating from the National Rifle Association, while Lipinski has seen his stock within the party fall over his opposition to abortion. 

The issue of endorsing Democratic primary challengers has been particularly divisive within the party. House Democrats' campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sparked controversy after it said it would not actively work with any consulting firms that cooperate with Democrats attempting to defeat sitting members of the party in primary elections. 

The PCCC has already endorsed Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE (D-Mass.) for president, rolling out a robust digital strategy to promote the lawmaker, including a campaign to promote voters who switched from backing other 2020 Democrats to supporting Warren.