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 KatkoHouse Democrats request briefings on Iranian cyber threats from DHS, FCC US officials, lawmakers warn of potential Iranian cyberattacks House votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap 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 Clinton Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts 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 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week The lawmakers who bucked their parties on the war powers resolution House passes measure seeking to limit Trump on Iran MORE in New Jersey; Morgan Harper, who is running against Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattyBoth sides of the aisle call for local, state, federal cooperation on homelessness The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night Progressive group unveils first slate of 2020 congressional endorsements 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 Ann WarrenThe Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary Environmental activists interrupt Buttigieg in New Hampshire Pence to visit Iowa days before caucuses 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.