Liberal group backs challenger to Hoyer

Liberal group backs challenger to Hoyer
© Greg Nash

The progressive group Democracy for America is endorsing Mckayla Wilkes (D) in Maryland’s 5th District race as she seeks to oust House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Overnight Health Care: Ohio governor tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump's visit | US shows signs of coronavirus peak, but difficult days lie ahead | Trump: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready 'right around' Election Day Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire MORE (D), who is serving his 20th term in Congress.

“Born to a single mother still grieving her father’s unexpected death and raised with the help of welfare benefits and a close extended family, the struggles low-income families in Maryland’s 5th District face aren’t an abstraction for McKayla Wilkes, they’re part of her life story,” said Yvette Simpson, the CEO of Democracy for America. “That’s why Democracy for America is so excited to endorse her race for Congress.”

Wilkes, who is 29, has been likened to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Harris, Ocasio-Cortez push climate equity bill with Green New Deal roots Young minority voters show overwhelming support for Biden: poll MORE (D-N.Y.), both for her left-leaning politics, her challenge to a longtime Democratic leader and her backstory as a working-class woman of color.


The group Brand New Congress, which backed Ocasio-Cortez early on, has also endorsed Wilkes.

Wilkes is a mother of two and has spoken openly about her time in the criminal justice system.

In 2014, she was arrested for driving on a suspended license and spent a few nights in jail while seven months pregnant.

Wilkes has made ending cash bail and criminal justice reform key pillars of her platform. In addition, she supports many of the progressive left’s most important policy proposals, such as "Medicare for All" and the Green New Deal.

“In 2020, progressives need to fight to hold the House, take back the White House, and return the Senate to Democratic control,” said Simpson. “However, the political transformation our country so desperately needs won’t happen if the Democratic Party continues to be dominated by the same corporate Democratic leaders who are beholden to powerful corporate interests and unwilling to challenge the broken status quo.”

Still, Wilkes faces an uphill climb in ousting Hoyer in Maryland’s fifth district, where white voters make up 60 percent of the electorate. The House majority leader has not faced a competitive contest in years, and he has routinely won his primary races by 40 points or more.

“Congressman Hoyer has a proven record of delivering results for our nation and his constituents in Maryland’s 5th District," said campaign spokesperson Annaliese Davis. "Never has the need for steady, experienced leadership been more apparent than during the current coronavirus pandemic. He is laser-focused on getting resources and assistance where they are most needed."