Energy & Environment

Sunrise Movement looks to bolster progressives in Pennsylvania, North Carolina

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Progressive environmental advocacy group Sunrise Movement on Thursday announced three congressional endorsements weeks after a Sunrise-backed candidate advanced to a runoff in Texas.

The new round of endorsements include Summer Lee for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, Erica Smith for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District and Nida Allam for North Carolina’s 4th District.

All three candidates face a several-way race in their respective primaries. Lee’s competitors include attorney Steve Irwin and former Pittsburgh mayoral candidate William Parker. Allam, the first Muslim woman elected to office in North Carolina, faces seven other Democratic candidates, including former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken. Smith, meanwhile, will face state Sen. Don Davis, Henderson City Councilor Jason Spriggs and retired U.S. Navy officer Jullian Bishop.

In addition to Sunrise, all three candidates have been endorsed by numerous progressive heavy hitters. Lee has secured the endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), while Allam has been endorsed by Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Smith, meanwhile, has been endorsed by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.).

“We’ve been working really closely with our hubs in Pennsylvania, North Carolina who have been organizing alongside these candidates for quite some time and have really built strong relationships with them,” Sunrise spokesperson Paris Moran told The Hill. And it’s been clear from the get go, that all three of our candidates here … are truly in this for climate justice and are not are not afraid to fight boldly for a Green New Deal.”

In a memo accompanying the endorsement, the organization specifically identified climate issues as a necessary campaign issue for Democrats to mobilize the youth vote in 2022. The most ambitious aspects of President Biden’s environmental agenda are contained in the Build Back Better infrastructure bill, which is seemingly doomed in Congress after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) announced in December that he would not back it.

“Notably, at the beginning of 2021, of all age groups, Biden had the highest net-approval rating among young people. But at the end of year, young people gave Biden a lower net-approval rating than every other age group. And many of the respondents cited the administration’s shortcomings in combating the climate crisis,” the memo states.

The endorsements come less than a month after another Sunrise-endorsed candidate, Jessica Cisneros, advanced to a runoff against Rep. Henry Cueller (D-Texas). Cisneros, who previously lost to Cuellar in the 2020 primaries, emphasized his ties to the oil industry in the primary campaign, as well as an FBI raid on his district office, reportedly in connection with an investigation into Azerbaijan. Cuellar has denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

Both states’ primaries are scheduled for May 17.

Tags Ayanna Pressley Bernie Sanders Ilhan Omar Joe Biden Joe Manchin Rashida Tlaib
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