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 SandersDNC warns campaigns about cybersecurity after attempted scam Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Biden looks to shore up lead in S.C. MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives 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 CastroJulián Castro endorses Rep. Cuellar's primary opponent in Texas Harris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller As Mexico abuses migrants under Trump's orders, where is Congress? MORE (D-Texas), brother of Julián Castro who backed Warren after dropping out of the presidential race this month; Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkJeffries: Trump budget is a 'declaration of war on the American dream' Senate acquits Trump, ending impeachment saga Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE (D-Mass.), a member of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Stone judge under pressure over calls for new trial 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 RaskinHouse Democrats launch probe into NIH and FBI suspecting Chinese Americans of espionage Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel The Hill's Morning Report - Sanders, Buttigieg do battle in New Hampshire MORE (D-Md.), a constitutional law professor who’s emerged as a leading critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes 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 Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump names Pence to lead coronavirus response Azar downplays chance Trump will appoint coronavirus czar 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) KhannaKhanna introduces bill to add a third gender option on US passports Omar endorses progressive Georgia Democrat running for House seat Democrats call for Twitter, Facebook to take down Pelosi video posted by Trump 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-CortezOvernight Energy: New Interior rule would limit scientific studies agency can consider | Panel battles over tree-planting bill | Trump to resume coal leases on public lands Ocasio-Cortez reads entire Green New Deal into congressional record Ocasio-Cortez meets with 'Roma' star to discuss workers' rights MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOmar offers sneak peek at her forthcoming memoir Sanders wins endorsement of top Muslim group Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms MORE (D-Mich.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar offers sneak peek at her forthcoming memoir Sanders unveils plan for government-funded child care, pre-K Ilhan Omar accuses Meghan McCain of trafficking in 'anti-Muslim smears and hate speech' MORE (D-Minn.), who is the chief whip or vote-counter for the CPC. The fourth squad member, Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyProgressive Democrat confronts Rep. Cuellar at parade, calls for him to debate her: report There's no such thing as a free bus Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms 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 JayapalDemocrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments 22 studies agree: 'Medicare for All' saves money Band Portugal. The Man to join Sanders at campaign event in Tacoma MORE (D-Wash.), Rep. Alan LowenthalAlan Stuart LowenthalNow is our chance to turn the tide on ocean plastic pollution Greenpeace says many plastics are not actually recyclable A disaster for diplomacy and the Zionist dream MORE (D-Calif.), and Rep. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeLawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Hillicon Valley: FBI to now notify state officials of cyber breaches | Pelosi rips 'shameful' Facebook | 5G group beefs up lobby team | Spotify unveils playlists for pets 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 looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE and former Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina 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 SewellSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Biden gains endorsement from Alabama's lone Democratic House rep House panel advances Trump's new NAFTA MORE (Ala.), Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiVulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket Democrats to plow ahead with Trump probes post-acquittal Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements MORE (N.J.), Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) and Colin Allred (Texas).

And the latest entrant to the primary race, billionaire Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergGiuliani: Bloomberg 'jeopardized' stop and frisk by 'overusing it' Bloomberg calls on Trump to implement firearm background checks The Hill's Campaign Report: Gloves off in South Carolina MORE, picked up his first endorsements this week — moderate Democratic Reps. Max RoseMax RoseVulnerable Democrats fret over surging Sanders Rose, former FBI agent pen op-ed about the danger of global white nationalism: 'Terrorism is terrorism' MLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues MORE (N.Y.), Harley RoudaHarley Edwin RoudaLet engineers make engineering decisions on local infrastructure projects EPA pushes back on Oversight review of ethics program House holds moment of silence for Kobe Bryant MORE (Calif.) and Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Sanders under fire from Democrats over praise for Castro regime The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats reckon with Sanders's rise 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.”