Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements

Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements
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With the Iowa caucuses around the corner, progressive presidential hopefuls Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher 'there will be a number of plans' to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package Warren, Khanna request IG investigation into Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds MORE (D-Mass.) aren’t just clashing on the campaign trail — they’re also scrapping for endorsements on Capitol Hill.

House Democrats in the Congressional Progressive Caucus said the race for presidential endorsements has kicked into high gear in the closing weeks before the Feb. 4 Iowa caucuses.

Many downplay the significance of political endorsements, but campaigns see them as a way to show momentum and boost fundraising as the first voters in the nation prepare to head to the polls.

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“It's crunch time,” said one undecided progressive freshman Democrat, who was heavily lobbied by both the Sanders and Warren camps this past week. “I've heard more about endorsing presidential candidates in the last three days than I've heard in the last three months.” 

Just as polls show progressive voters are divided between Sanders and Warren, so is the nearly 100-member Progressive Caucus. Both progressive rock stars have attracted high-profile endorsements in the CPC in recent days and weeks. 

Warren’s endorsements include Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroDisinformation, QAnon efforts targeting Latino voters ramp up ahead of presidential election Pompeo accused of stumping for Trump ahead of election Florida Democrat asks FBI to investigate anti-Semitic, racist disinformation MORE (D-Texas), brother of Julián Castro who backed Warren after dropping out of the presidential race this month; Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDemocratic leaders: Supreme Court fight is about ObamaCare Rep. Robin Kelly enters race for Democratic caucus vice chair Clark rolls out endorsements in assistant Speaker race MORE (D-Mass.), a member of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Will Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? MORE’s (D-Calif.) leadership team; several female freshman lawmakers; and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a former Progressive Caucus co-chairman who now heads the Natural Resources Committee. 

Liberal Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinOVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver On The Money: House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles | New York considers hiking taxes on the rich | Treasury: Trump's payroll tax deferral won't hurt Social Security House panel pulls Powell into partisan battles over pandemic MORE (D-Md.), a constitutional law professor who’s emerged as a leading critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE’s legal woes, told The Hill he’ll formally endorse Warren in the coming days.

“She has an insightful structural critique of what’s gone wrong in the economy and she speaks in the best traditions of progressive liberal reformers on how to make it better,” Raskin said in an interview. “She is adamant that markets in America have to work for the people and she is someone who can actually unify all of the divergent elements of the party.”

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But Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who helped found the Progressive Caucus in 1991, has landed endorsements from nearly all of the current CPC leadership team. This week, Co-Chairman Mark PocanMark William PocanOvernight Defense: Nearly 500 former national security officials formally back Biden | 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds 40 groups call on House panel to investigate Pentagon's use of coronavirus funds Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers MORE (D-Wis.) threw his support behind Sanders, declaring the senator’s “authenticity, honesty, and movement for equality is the antidote our nation needs now.” Meanwhile, Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds On The Money: Half of states deplete funds for Trump's 0 unemployment expansion | EU appealing ruling in Apple tax case | House Democrats include more aid for airlines in coronavirus package The movement to reform animal agriculture has reached a tipping point MORE (D-Calif.), CPC’s first vice chairman, has been serving as co-chairman of Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign and his top surrogate on Capitol Hill.

Three members of “the squad” — the four freshman women of color — also are on Team Bernie: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWill Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline McCarthy says there will be a peaceful transition if Biden wins MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar urges Democrats to focus on nonvoters over 'disaffected Trump voters' Omar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' MORE (D-Minn.), who is the chief whip or vote-counter for the CPC. The fourth squad member, Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyEnding the Hyde Amendment is no longer on the backburner Fauci, Black Lives Matter founders included on Time's 100 Most Influential People list Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' MORE (D-Mass.), endorsed her home-state senator, Warren.

Khanna, a former Obama official who now represents a liberal San Francisco Bay Area district, had been aggressively working to secure Pocan’s endorsement for weeks, sources said. Texting and button-holing colleagues in the Capitol, Khanna also has been trying to recruit other undecided lawmakers, including Pocan’s CPC co-chair, Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalHillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Bipartisan representatives demand answers on expired surveillance programs DHS opens probe into allegations at Georgia ICE facility MORE (D-Wash.), Rep. Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalAct now to protect our nation's birds Overnight Energy: EPA declines to regulate chemical tied to developmental damage | Democrats unveil .5T infrastructure plan | Land management bureau eases requirements for oil, gas royalty cut requests Land management bureau lessens requirements for oil and gas royalty cut requests MORE (D-Calif.), and Rep. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeLawmakers call for small business aid at all levels of government The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Top tech executives testify in blockbuster antitrust hearing MORE (D-N.Y.), a Black Caucus member. 

Jayapal hasn’t made any decision, but she appears to be leaning toward Sanders. She and Sanders go back to the 2016 cycle, when she became the first state lawmaker in Washington state to endorse Sanders. He returned the favor that year, making her one of the first congressional candidates in the county to receive his coveted endorsement.

“I have a very close relationship with Bernie; I have a very close relationship with Warren that is newer,” Jayapal told The Hill. “I will endorse but we just have to beat Trump, and I want a bold progressive to beat Trump. I will throw-in at some point.”

Sanders and Warren — longtime progressive allies and friends — are both heroes of the left who have similar policy prescriptions; both back "Medicare for All," free college, a $15 minimum wage, and higher taxes for the rich.

But in a rare rift this week, Warren accused Sanders of telling her during a private 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the White House — an allegation Sanders vehemently denied in a statement and on the debate stage in Iowa. Sanders, Warren, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE and former Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBillionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - GOP closes ranks to fill SCOTUS vacancy by November Buttigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice MORE are in a tight four-way race in the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

The ugly, public spat over sexism in politics has complicated the endorsement decision for Jayapal and other liberals as they prepare to choose sides in the progressive civil war.

“Sexism is real. There is no question that she thinks she heard that from Bernie; there is no question that Bernie doesn’t think he said that,” Jayapal said. “At the end of the day, we need to get back to the issues and be clear that, No.1, a woman can win, that is absolutely true, and sexism is real. And the issues are what really are going to propel us to the end, and progressive unity is really important to that.”

Of course, Sanders and Warren aren’t the only ones locking in congressional endorsements. Biden, a Washington fixture, has support from three dozen senators and congressmen, including four Democrats who endorsed this week: Reps. Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellRevered civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis lies in state in the Capitol House approves Clyburn proposal to rename voting rights bill after John Lewis John Lewis carried across Edmund Pettus Bridge for last time MORE (Ala.), Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiDCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to 'Red to Blue' program The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - First lady casts Trump as fighter for the 'forgotten' Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers introduce resolution condemning QAnon | US Cyber Command leader vows to 'defend forward' in protecting nation from cyberattacks MORE (N.J.), Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) and Colin Allred (Texas).

And the latest entrant to the primary race, billionaire Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBloomberg rolls out M ad buy to boost Biden in Florida Democratic groups using Bloomberg money to launch M in Spanish language ads in Florida Bloomberg pays fines for 32,000 felons in Florida so they can vote MORE, picked up his first endorsements this week — moderate Democratic Reps. Max RoseMax RoseCentrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote Lawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (N.Y.), Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaUS Chamber of Commerce set to endorse 23 House freshman Democrats OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump advancements on Pebble Mine | Interior finalizes public lands HQ move out West over congressional objections | EPA to issue methane rollback: report Watchdog to weigh probe of Trump administration advancements of Pebble Mine MORE (Calif.) and Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise Bank lobbying group launches ad backing Collins reelection bid House Democrats call on State Department for information on Uighur prisoner Ekpar Asat MORE (Fla.), a leader of the Blue Dog Democrats.

Bloomberg, who has said he may spend up to $1 billion to defeat Trump this year, is even attracting praise from some staunch progressives, who say the former New York City mayor has “put his money where his mouth is” when it comes to backing campaigns to fight climate change and gun violence. 

“I haven’t endorsed anybody, and I am on the progressive wing of the Democratic party, so I wasn’t looking at him. But I am very impressed with some of the things he has done. He really stood up for gun safety and climate, and I think he needs to be acknowledged for doing that,” said Lowenthal, a Progressive Caucus member who represents Long Beach.

“He’s in it for the right reasons when it comes to Trump. He really sees him as a great danger.”