These are extraordinary developments. When it comes to this rising army of progressive candidates, this writer, who has been to more than a few of these rodeos, has never seen its like. When wearing my political analyst cap, I'm often called upon, in various venues, to comment on them, and last Summer, I began assembling a sort of informal list of them. Mostly pretty basic information--who they are, some details about their platforms and about the districts in which they're running, their opponents, etc. I've added to it over time as I've come across new candidates and have tried to keep it updated. It's been posted in several places around Facebook--its natural home is a group I admin called "Populist Revolt & Lounge"--and eventually began to draw an enthusiastic response in some quarters and to be treated as a valuable resource. As that kind of resource, though, it's somewhat limited, in that it's basically just a random list. I've long toyed with various ways to better organize and present it. Twitter offers the most ideal platform capabilities for it but its character limit rules it out. One Facebook group, "Flip the House, Flip the Senate," organized the information by states, but while that was certainly a big improvement over my original format, it still proved to be somewhat messy within the individual states, particularly as new information continued to be added. I finally just decided I'd put it in order and post it here.
No matter how extraordinary a development these progressive candidates collectively are, the corporate press is largely doling out the usual treatment it affords left candidates, blacking out their existence and trying to ignore them to death while, on the few occasions when they're mentioned, dismissing or attacking them. Rather than encouraging this remarkable wave of new candidates, nearly all of whom are Democrats, the Democratic party Establishment is up to what has become its usual hijinks, actively trying to monkeywrench them, sabotage their campaigns, push them aside. Party organs like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), its Senate counterpart (the DSCC) and Establishment-aligned orgs like EMILY's List have continued their dismal practice of actively interfering in Democratic primary contests, throwing their support behind the corporate-backed conservative Clintonite candidates who are trying to defeat the progressives, even in deep blue districts. These efforts to centrally direct the outcome of these contests rather than letting the voters decide have, in turn, elicited barely a peep from the corporate press. The left press, however, is finally getting hip to this scam, and several good stories documenting these corrupt practices have appeared; I've tried to incorporate their information here.
None of these candidates are incumbents in the seats for which they're running. Some have run before. Some have held other offices. Most are newcomers. Some will burn out quickly, others have long political careers before them, if that's what they want. Some are near-impossible longshots, others much closer to shoe-ins. I've long believed a blue wave is building for 2018, the sort of wave that can carry even some of the least likely competitors to victory. When primary contests kick off--some as early as this month--some will win, some will lose and there will be some surprises both way.
A few more items: While these progressive candidates have appeared in political races at every level, a comprehensive survey is beyond my capabilities, so I've focused here on U.S. House and Senate races but the list isn't even comprehensive when it comes to those contests. There are plenty of other races with plenty of other candidates and I'll be updating the information here as I go along, or that's the plan. When I outline a candidate's platform, I usually just highlight a small handful of marquee items, which, if this needs to be said, aren't representative of the candidate's entire platform or necessarily what that candidate thinks is most important; use the links I provide.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake's impending retirement has opened a battle for his Senate seat in Arizona. The race has (so far) attracted a regular monster menagerie of awful Republican challengers (former Maricopa County sheriff/racketeer Joe Arpaio is only arguably the worst), a Libertarian, a Green and five Democrats. The Democratic Establishment is backing the loathsome Krysten Sinema. Sinema, currently the congresswoman from the 9th District, is an opportunist who reinvents herself every few years. Her current incarnation is as a Blue Dog "Democrat" barely distinguishable in any meaningful way from a Republican. There are two progressives in the race for this pretty Republican state, Deedra Abboud, running as a Democrat, and Eve Reyes-Aguirre, running as a Green.
Deedra Abboud is a Phoenix attorney and community organizer and, as she puts it, a former Muslim-hating Southern Baptist turned Muslim! She supports Medicare For All, net neutrality, the establishment of a living wage tied to inflation, etc.
Abboud interviewed by Cenk Uygur:
Abboud on Twitter:
Eve Reyes-Aguirre is a community organizer from Phoenix and, like so many here, a newcomer to politics. "It’s not every day a woman runs for Senate—and definitely not in Arizona. Eve Reyes-Aguirre won’t let that deter her, though. The 42 year old is trying to become first woman senator in the state and the first indigenous woman senator, at that.
"Reyes-Aguirre, an Izkaloteka Mexican Native who lives in Phoenix, is running as a third-party candidate with the Green Party and still needs to secure 1,000 signatures before she can appear on the ballot come November, but she’s not worried. She’s got until May and already has about 400.
"With current Republican Senator Jeff Flake retiring, that Senate seat is about to bust open.
"She joins the ranks of Republican candidate Joe Arpaio, the racist former sheriff for Maricopa County; Republican candidate Martha McSally, the first woman combat pilot in U.S. history; Democrat candidate Kyrsten Sinema, a U.S. representative who leans more toward the middle than most Democrats; and all the other third-party candidates.
"So Reyes-Aguirre’s got some serious competition. And she’s no politician. This mother of four has never run for public office and has a pretty limited voting track record, having vote for the first time 10 years ago for former President Barack Obama.
"However, she’s been politically active in other ways: serving on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2009 to 2017 and co-chairing the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus until last year. She’s been a community organizer for more than 20 years and helped organize an indigenous women’s contingent at the Phoenix Women’s March last Saturday.
"Given the current political climate, the candidate decided in July 2017 to work from inside the system instead. Protesting outside capitol buildings can only get a girl so far. Reyes-Aguirre wants to offer a voice for people who—like herself—have become disillusioned with politics. She thinks she’s got what it takes. Hear it from the candidate herself...
Reyes-Aguirre supports making the minimum wage a living wage, fighting the expansion of the prison-industrial complex, divesting from projects that contribute to the depletion of the Earth's resources, etc.https://eve4az.com/eve-on-the-issues
Eve Reyes-Aguirre on Twitter:
Brianna Westbrook is running in Arizona's 8th District, the stomping-ground of Republican shitbag Trent Franks, whose political career was just ended by a sex scandal. During the last redistricting, the district was gerrymandered to be very conservative but its current state is somewhat untested. Democrats haven't fielded a challenger there for years--Franks won reelection in 2016 with 68% of the vote but faced only a third-party challenger. There are two other Democrats vying for the seat and both a Republican and an independent candidate have entered the race as well. Westbrook is a sales manager with a Phoenix Honda dealership and has never run for office; if elected, she would become Arizona's first trangendered congresswoman. She supports a Wall Street tax to pay for tuition-fee higher education, single-payer healthcare, a living wage and she's been endorsed by ActBlue and Justice Democrats:
Westbrook interviewed by Cenk Uygur:
Westbrook on Twitter:
Robb Ryerse is challenging incumbent Republican Steve Womack in Arkansas's 3rd District. Democrats haven't even bothered to put up a challenger to Womack in his three election bids but Ryerse, a pastor, is an example of that near-mythical beast, a liberal Republican. He's challenging Womack in the Republican primary and he has the backing of Brand New Congress, one of the groups founded by former Bernie Sanders staffers.
"'I think the influx of so much money has helped to really cause the toxic nature of our system and has really worked to corrupt the party establishment,' he told us. 'I am working with Brand New Congress and we’re not taking special interest money, we’re not taking big PAC money, corporate money. We are being supported, my campaign is being supported, by average citizens who believe and who donate. I think that’s the way it needs to be. I think when we’ve got politicians who are beholden to big corporations and big donors, is what happens is the very thing we have, whether Republicans or Democrats they put party ahead of people and we end up with the mess we’ve got now.'"
Ryerse supports banning private donations to politicians and instituting a public financing system for political campaigns, Medicare For All, ending for-profit criminal justice, etc.
Ryerse interviewed by Thom Hartmann:
Ryerse on Twitter:
When Dinosaur Feinstein announced she would be seeking an unconscionable 923rd term as a California Senator, it was hoped there would be primary challengers. It was dismaying to see Kevin de León step up then immediately set up a super PAC to suck up unlimited donations from Big Money interests. Fortunately, as things developed, Feinstein is going to face progressive challengers--two of them, so far, Alison Hartson and David Hildebrand. California's jungle primary system favors incumbents, who can always call on a core of established supporters to carry them through a crowded primary but there's a good chance one of these challengers will make it to the general and in a strongly Democratic state, perhaps the Dinosaur can finally be made to go politically extinct.
Alison Hartson, a former high-school teacher, became an activist crusading against money in politics. She supports public financing of political campaigns, Medicare For All, tuition-free higher education, etc.
Hartson interviewed on the Young Turks:
Hartson on Twitter:
David Hildebrand is a Legislative Analyst for the state and a democratic socialist. He supports reversing the Citizens United decision, Medicare For All, term limits for congress, tuition-free higher education, etc.:
Hildebrand interviewed by Lauren Steiner:
Hildebrand on Twitter:
Roza Calderon is challenging longtime incumbent Republican Tom McClintock in California's 4th District. This is a strongly Republican district and as of this writing, three Democrats and two Republicans, including incumbent McClintock, are vying for the seat. McClintock is a Trumpanzee--votes with Trump on nearly everything--who made some headlines last February when he had to flee his own town hall in his own district because his own constituents were so raucously protesting against his efforts to lecture them on "democracy"--basically pimping Trumpism. Roza came to the U.S. at 2 years old, a refugee from Reagan's murderous terror-war in El Salvador. She's a geoscientist and political activist who supports getting money out of politics, Medicare For All, tuition-free higher education, creating a path to citizenship for immigrants, etc.
A pretty good interview with Roza from TYT Politics:
Calderon on Twitter:
Brad Westmoreland is challenging Democratic incumbent Ami Bera in California's 7th District. The 7th is a battleground district, almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
"A 30-year-old lawyer who backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign last year has jumped into the race to challenge Rep. Ami Bera, a three-term Democrat representing suburban Sacramento.
"Brad Westmoreland, a Democrat and political newcomer, said he wants to shake up 'politics as usual.' He criticized Bera for his stance on health care and for accepting campaign contributions from insurance companies.
"'I believe in Medicare for all... I don’t think we can rely on Congressman Bera to go against his own interests and support universal health care when he takes money from people who are opposed to a Medicare-for-all type system, Westmoreland said, referencing Sanders’ push for a single-payer health care system. 'I think about my son growing up in a world where we continue to ration health care away from those who need it, and I think that’s unacceptable.'"
Westmoreland supports a constitutional amendment that "allows only natural persons who are eligible to vote for a federal candidate to make campaign contributions or independent expenditures related to that candidate," tuition-free higher education, a $15/hour minimum wage, etc.
Westmoreland on Twitter:
There are two progressives challenging Republican incumbent Jeff Denham in California's 10th District, Dotty Nygard, running as a Democrat, and Terra Snova, running as an independent. This is definitely a battle district; in 2016, Denham won reelection by only 3.4%. This has meant there is a crowded field; besides Nygard and Snova, there are 6 Democrats and another independent also vying for the seat.
"Nygard, a Democrat, is an emergency room nurse at Sutter Health in Sacramento and a member of the influential, progressive California Nurses Assn.
"Nygard said she was drawn to the race because of attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Denham voted for the House GOP repeal bill last week), her concerns about the environment and climate change, and a desire to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
"'My advocacy for my patients goes far beyond the bedside,' she said. 'I can’t idly sit by and watch the things that are happening.'"
"She does not plan to accept contributions from corporations or political action committees, she said.
"'That’s what our communities are wanting to see, people that stand for them and with them, not bought by corporations, not influenced by big money,' she said."
Nygard supports tuition-free education, raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and indexing it to inflation, legalizing marijuana and ending private prisons:
Nygard interviewed on the Young Turks:
Nygard on Twitter:
Terra Snover, who, if elected, would become California's first trans congresswoman, works for a non-profit helping people with disabilities get the support they need to live independently. "If there is ever a bill that tries to limit your rights, I will fight tooth and nail for you,"’ she says. "If ever there is an opportunity to extend to you the rights that others take for granted but we yearn for, I will not stop until we achieve those rights."
She supports a $15/hour minimum wage, Medicare For All, ending for-profit prisons, etc.:
Snover interviewed on "In My Humble Opinion":
Snover on Twitter:
Stephen Jaffe is challenging corrupt House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi in California's 12th District. This is a strongly Democratic district; there's no reason in the world Democrats should have to settle, in such a place, for the likes of Pelosi, a human slot-machine who tries to stamp out progressive candidates and issues and maintains her power in the House by virtue of her only real talent, successfully pimping out the Democratic caucus to any Big Money interest looking to buy a piece of it. Jaffe is an employment lawyer who was inspired by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, for which he worked for a time, and is running on an ambitious program in support of single payer healthcare, campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage, ending private prisons and reforming the Democratic party, among a great many other things:
Jaffe interviewed by Jimmy Dore:
Jaffe on Twitter:
Unfortunately, the state Democratic party is trying to game the system to shield Pelosi and other incumbents from primary challenges:
"The California Democratic Party’s bylaws stipulate that Democratic incumbents automatically receive the party’s endorsement for re-election unless a primary challenger acquires petition signatures from at least 20 percent of eligible participants at a pre-endorsement conference. The endorsement enables incumbents to receive funding and campaign resources for their re-election.
"Stephen Jaffe, the primary challenger to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in California’s 12th Congressional District, acquired the necessary 20 percent threshold of signatures to prevent the California Democratic Party from formally endorsing Pelosi. Jaffe acquired signatures from 37 out of 182 eligible delegates and submitted his petition with the $350 fee before the 5 p.m deadline on Jan. 17. The California Democratic Party rejected the challenge, later claiming there were 190 eligible delegates, and that 38 signatures were needed.
"The party never shared the list of eight extra delegates with Jaffe, who appealed the decision which will be ruled on by six members of the California Democratic Party’s Compliance Review Commission, who were all appointed by the party’s chair, Eric Bauman."
Two progressive Democrats, Brant John-Michael Williams and Ricardo Franco, are challenging Devin Nunes in California's 22nd District. This is a strongly Republican district--over 60%--which is, of course, the only way a clown like Nunes could hold his seat. Nunes has made a name for himself as a shamelss Trump sycophant who has spent more than a year trying to derail the Robert Mueller investigation into the Trump/Russia business.
Brant John-Michael Williams is the founder of the Vision 4 The Valley, an org committed to building a University of California in the Central Valley. He supports Medicare For All, marijuana legalization, and a pair of constitutional amendments, one to overturn Citizens United and another to create term-limits for congress, etc.
Williams on Twitter:
Ricardo Franco is an economist who works in Silicon Valley. He supports Medicare For All, tuition-free higher education, expansion of green-energy jobs, etc.
Franco interviewed on Central Valley Talk:
In 2016, Doug Applegate challenged incumbent Republican car-thief Darrel Issa in California's 49th Distict, a race that turned incredibly ugly when the car thief filed a libel suit against his challenger for campaign ads criticizing his record. Issa barely won the race, squeaking by with a 0.6% margin of victory. His suit was laughed out of court in 2017 and Applegate declared his intention to go after Issa again. That's when a fly appeared in the ointment:
"Things never looked better for San Diego/Orange County Democrats to finally defeat Issa in 2018. But I know what you’re thinking, 'How are earth could they screw this up?'... Bring in the corporate, big money Democrats.
"Backed by entrenched big money interests, a newcomer, Mike Levin from San Juan Capistrano, has announced that he will primary Applegate, sucking energy and resources out of the crucial battle against Issa. Make no mistake: Levin, with zero name recognition in San Diego, is running against Doug Applegate, the most successful Democrat to have ever gone up against Issa, a candidate the DCCC has never challenged even once in his career. Levin whose claim to fame is that (1) he went to Stanford with Chelsea Clinton and (2) he bundled $500,000 for Hillary in Orange County. Levin somehow forgot to give a dime to defeat his own Republican congressman, Darrell Issa. Where was he in 2016 when Applegate had Issa on the run? Hosting cocktail parties for wealthy establishment donors who now think he'd make a better opponent for Issa based on... well, he's their friend."
Issa then added a new wrinkle; seeing the writing on the wall, he announced in January that he was retiring from congress after his current term.
Applegate remains. He's a retired Marine Corps colonel with a strong progressive platform, including a $15/hour minimum wage, single-payer healthcare, a path to citizenship for immigrants, etc.:
Applegate interviewed by Cenk Uygur:
Applegate on Twitter:
Levi Tillemann is challenging incumbent Republican Mike Coffman in Colorado's 6th District. This is a Democratic-majority district. Obama won it by a wide margin. Even Clinton won it and by nearly 9%. Sanders cleaned Clinton's clock there--perfect territory for a progressive populist and likely an easy Democratic pick-up. Tillemann, who holds a Ph.D. in international studies, is an entrepreneur and former official in the Obama Energy Department.
"'The normalization of Trump is one of the scariest developments our democracy has ever made,' Tillemann says. 'We've never had a moment, except maybe the Civil War, where our institutions were so under threat. That is why I decided to run.'"
Tillemann supports Medicare For All, cracking down on economic inequality, increased funding for public transportation, "100% renewable electricity by 2035," etc.
Tillemann on Twitter:
Unfortunately, this is another race in which the DCCC is interfering, getting together with the state party Good Ol' Boys Club--including Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives--to endorse Establishment "Democrat" Jason Crow, a candidate who doesn't even live in the district, while trying to push Tillemann out of the race. The DCCC has done this same thing in the last two elections in the 6th, supporting shitty Republican-lite candidates who, after spending a bloody fortune (the district has produced the most expensive races in the state for years), go on to lose in the general. As a consequence, Republican Coffman has managed to hold this seat for a decade.
Chardo Richardson is challinging Blue-Dog "Democrat" Stephanie Murphy in Florida's 7th District. This is a battleground district, almost evenly divided between Repubs and Demos and it's a major target of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. Richardson is a former president of the Central Florida ACLU.
"In his video announcement, Richardson, 37, says he's running because 'The citizens of Seminole County, Orange County, and America, deserve better. They deserve better wages, access to tuition free education and they deserve to be given opportunities to be entered into a new 21st century economy.'
"Richardson has recently had a visible role in his duties with the ALCU in battles opposing many of the White House’s policies and speaking out at rallies and marches. He’s pledged not to take any money from lobbyists."
Richardson has endorsed the Justice Democrats platform: Medicare For All, getting money out of politics, ending for-profit criminal justice, etc.
Richardson interviewed on WeThePeople:
Richardson on Twitter:
Alina Valdes is again challenging Republican Mario Diaz-Balart in Florida 25th District. This is a strongly Republican district; Diaz-Balart first won it in 2012 by more than 75% of the vote. The Democrats didn't even bother to throw a challenger his way in 2014 but last year, Valdes, a physician, jumped in the ring. Diaz-Balart defeated her pretty handily, winning 62% of the vote but now, she's back for a rematch. This one, it must be admitted, is going to be a pretty tough nut to crack. Valdes' platform includes Medicare For All, a World War II-level effort to combat climate change and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources, ending corporate welfare, expanding Social Security, etc.
A conversation with Alina Valdes:
Alina Valdes on Twitter:
Lisa Ring is challenging Republican incumbent Buddy Carter in Georgia's 1st District. This is a strongly Republican district--slightly over 60% Republican. Ring, whose training is in history and philosophy, is a former corrections officer and a longtime grassroots organizer; she served as a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic convention. She supports Medicare For All, eliminating private prisons and mandatory minimum sentences, a path to citizenship for immigrants, etc.
"I plan to be the type of politician I’ve been looking for myself. I believe there is a void that must be filled of strong, trustworthy leadership who listens to constituents and puts the needs of the voter ahead of their own self-interests. It is time for a representative to protect the 700,000 constituents of this district, rather than protecting the profits of corporate and special interests."
Real Progressives interview with Ring:
Ring on Twitter:
Trent Nesmith is challenging Republican incumbent Rick Allen in Georgia's 12th District. In 2016, Allen won reelection by a commanding margin--61.6%-- but he, in effect, had no opponent in the race. Tricia Carpenter McCracken, the lady who appeared on the ballot as the Democratic challenger, was just the wife of a prominent local attorney put on the ballot so there would at least be some Democrat; she never campaigned, never even set up a website, but still managed to capture nearly 40% of the vote. Up until 2014, the district was represented by Democrat John Barrow, who won his five sequential victories by usually healthy margins. Nesmith is a roofer from Statesboro who supports Medicare For All, marijuana leglalization, a constitutional amendment "providing that the rights extended by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only," thus ending corporate personhood, etc.
Nesmith interviewed by Neal Blair:
Nesmith on Twitter:
Kaniela Ing is running for Hawaii's now-open 1st District. The incumbent Colleen Hanabusa has announced she wouldn't seek reelection in order to run for governor. This is a strongly Democratic district; in 2016, Hanabusa captured 71.9% of the vote there. The 28-year-old Ing is a real rising star who, for five years, has served in the state House after winning an impossible election against an incumbent who should have been unbeatable.
"I am running for Congress because Hawaii’s working families are being left behind and need a representative who understands today’s struggle of paying for college, buying a home, and raising a family. I will work to save Hawaii from climate change, fix our rigged economy, and ensure equal rights for all.
"Standing up to Donald Trump and the GOP is important, but it's not enough. Our leaders must be willing to stand up to big-money special interests, and offer a positive vision of progress beyond resistance.
"This means fighting for equal pay, Medicare-for-all, tuition-free college, universal basic income, women’s health, LGBTQ rights, a 100% renewable future, worker protections, the legalization of adult-use cannabis, an end to reckless wars abroad, sacred spaces, living wages, criminal justice reform, and a democracy free from big-money corruption."
Ing's campaign site ("It's not enough to simply resist Donald Trump. People are struggling and feeling left behind. Leaders must offer hope and progress beyond resistance."):
Cenk Uygur interviewed Ing:
Ing on Twitter:
Marie Newman is challenging Blue Dog "Democrat" Dan Lipinski in Illinois' 3rd Distict. This is a heavily Democratic district; last year, Republicans didn't even bother to offer up a candidate. They didn't need to offer one--they already have Lipinski, who has been skating on his father's name for years now, one of the good ol' boys in Chicago's Democratic machine. Lipinski lines up behind some of the worst elements of the GOP--vehemently anti-abortion, wants an anti-same-sex-marriage constitutional amendment and so on. Newman is a marketing consultant offering a progressive alternative. Medicare For All, battling income inequality, livable wages, etc. Her platform:
In a reversal of the usual pattern in these races, Newman has managed to draw some support from elements of the Democratic Establishment (which really seemed to rankle Politico).
Newman on Twitter:
Longtime Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez is retiring, leaving his seat in Illinois' 4th District open. This is a very blue district--Gutierrez typically won reelection with around (or over) 80% of the vote. The winner of the Democratic primary is pretty much guaranteed to take the general. So far, there are six competitors in that race (and even 4 Republicans looking to fight it out for the opportunity of facing the winner) and the good news it that the frontrunner is solid progressive, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, former state senator, Cook County Commissioner and the guy who, with the strong backing of labor, fought Clintonite Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Democratic machine to a runoff in the 2015 Chicago mayoral contest. In that race, Bernie Sanders endorsed Garcia, who, in turn, endorsed Sanders in the 2016 presidential race. Sanders has endorsed Garcia's congressional campaign.
"'Chuy Garcia is the right person at the right time for the work we have ahead of us,' Sanders said in a statement. 'He is ready and willing to stand up and fight for the working families of Chicago and our nation and take on the powerful special interests who have far too much power over the economic and political life of our country. He is also an experienced legislator who has risen up the ladder of Chicago’s brawling politics. That makes him well groomed for jumping into the House’s rough and tumble political battles.'
"Garcia said he stands with Sanders’s message of progressive reform, and they agree on key issues such as rebuilding Puerto Rico, universal health care, immigration reform, supporting higher education, and encouraging fiscal responsibility through tax reform.
"'I support America, a nation of rich cultural heritage and unmatched strength, whose founding fathers believed in building bridges, not walls,' Garcia said in a statement. 'I champion opportunity for all as an ally of independent Sen. Bernie Sanders. I will do everything in my power to move the nation forward on these crucial issues.'"
Garcia on Twitter:
Anthony Clark is challenging longtime incumbent Democrat Danny Davis in Illinois' 7th District. This is an ironclad Democratic district--over 80%. The winner of the Democratic battle will be elected. Clark is a high-school teacher and director of the non-profit Suburban Unity Alliance. He supports Medicare For All, ending for-profit criminal justice, tuition-free higher education, etc.
"'Career politicians, the top 1 percent, they're not listening to the people,' Clark said. 'It should be people before politics, but that's not how we're currently operating. The systemic issues that have plagued our society for so long still exist, and I think we see that with the current administration and the current tone of our society.'
"When reached for comment, Davis confirmed he would seek re-election in 2018, adding that someone having interest in running for Congress, even if it's for his own seat, is a good thing for American politics."
Despite those public words of encouragement, Davis proved to be one of those "career politicians" everyone hates and filed several frivolous legal complaints aimed at removing both Clark and Ahmed Salim, another primary opponent, from the ballot, then keeping Clark off the campaign trail and wasting valuable resources in court instead:
"The Davis campaign’s efforts to remove Clark from the ballot failed, but they did force Clark to spend vital campaign resources on legal fees. 'At the end of the signature challenge it was clear, we were roughly 497 signatures over the minimum requirements,' Clark told The Real News Network. 'It was his strategy to keep us off the campaign trail to have us expend a lot of our money. After that, instead of being done, he had his lawyer file a Rule 8 motion.'
"That motion claimed Clark and his mother fraudulently obtained signatures to make the ballot, and targeted signatures from lower income communities where it would be more difficult to subpoena individuals to deny the claims. Clark noted, 'A lot of their evidence was thrown out because it was hearsay. They tried to get notaries sign off on basically third-person accounts.'
"According to Clark, his campaign spent $12,000 on legal fees and had to coordinate for people to testify on his behalf. He alleged Davis supporters engaged in intimidation tactics against his campaign throughout the process, from harassing phone calls to social media trolling. Throughout this entire process, Clark’s campaign was essentially on pause, and many local activist groups and organizations were apprehensive about formally supporting his campaign until his place on the ballot was secure..."
The Illinois Democratic party has also denied Clark access to VoteBuilder, the Democratic National Committee's big voter database, which, as Wired puts it, is "the central nervous system of every Democratic campaign, housing years of information on just about every contact the party has ever made with every voter." The state parties are allowed to make their own rules about who accesses VoteBuilder and the Illinois party, well,...
"In Illinois, the state party prevents any candidate running against an incumbent from gaining access to VoteBuilder. 'We talk about growing the Democratic party, so how do you grow the Democratic party if you go after incumbents?' says Steve Brown, a spokesperson for the Illinois Democrats. 'The Democratic party is creating and maintaining and enhancing a tool. Why would you want to give it to outsiders who may or may not actually be Democrats?'"
Clark, who is 35, has been a registered Democrat his entire adult life.
David Gill is again challenging Republican incumbent Rodney Davis in Illinois' 13th District. This is a swing district. Bernie Sanders rolled right over Clinton there in 2016, then Trump narrowly defeated Clinton 49.7% to 44.2%. Davis has faced weak competition in the last two elections (a bad and hopelessly outfunded campaign in 2014 and a DCCC rightist in 2014) but back in 2012, Gill had challenged Davis and lost by only 0.3% (after another left candidate ran as an independent). Now, he's back for a rematch. Gill is a physician at Gibson Area Hospital and a former Assistant Director of the Illinois Dept. of Public Health. He previously ran two campaigns for congress as the Democrats' throwaway candidate against unbeatable Republican Tim Johnson in the 15th District. In the last redistricting, he was relocated into the 13th and nearly took Davis' scalp.
"Gill has long been at odds with the political elites of Washington, D.C., maintaining that their ties to Wall Street 'leave most Americans without proper representation; when both major parties grovel at the heels of Wall Street banks and large multi-national corporations, virtually all of us suffer economic injustice.'"
Gill supports single-payer healthcare, legalization of marijuana, a $15/hour minimum wage, public financing of political campaigns, etc.
An essay by Gill, "Beating Back Trumpism in the Heartland":
Gill on Twitter:
Dan Canon is challenging Republican incumbent Trey Hollingsworth in Indiana's 9th District. This is a Republican district but with ony a slight Repup majority; Ballotpedia has rated it a race to watch; there are three other candidates vying for the Democratic nomination. Canon is an attorney specializing in civil rights and constitutional law. He's most famous for being part of the legal team that challenged Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage, a series of cases that were eventually combined, went to the Supreme Court and that guaranteed marriage equality.
"I have spent my life providing a voice to the voiceless. Throughout my career I’ve represented hundreds of individuals - workers, minorities, students, veterans, police officers, inmates, children, senior citizens, refugees, and more - against powerful corporate and government interests. Now I’m ready to represent you in Congress."
Canon supports campaign finance reform, Medicare For All, legalized marijuana, paid family and medical leave, etc. He wrote a brief article in September introducing his candidacy:
Canon's principles and priorities:
Canon on Twitter:
Courtney Rowe is challenging Republican incumbent Rod Blum in Iowa's 1st District. This is a swing district that, up until 2014, had been represented by Democrat Bruce Braley for many years. Braley retired to run for Senate and Republican Blum won a squeaker to become the new congressman. The Democratic Establishment threw a weak, Republican-lite candidate against him in 2016; Blum defeated her by nearly 7%. Rowe is an aerospace engineer who was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic convention. She's running on the Justice Democrats ticket; she supports tuition-free higher education, Medicare For All, campaign finance reform, marijuana legalization, etc.
Rowe at AfterBern:
Rowe on Twitter:
Iowa's 3rd District is shaping up to be a strong contest. A Democratic field of 7 candidates vying for a chance to tackle incumbent Republican David Young. This is a battleground district, almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton there last year but Obama won the district both times; with the likely blue wave coming in 2018, it's very likely to go Democratic. The Democratic Establishment is backing Theresa Greenfield, who has followed the DCCC playbook for right-wing "Democrats"--talks in meaningless generalities, offers vague platitudes, declines to include any real issues discussion on her website (she has publicly said she opposes a $15 minimum wage but good luck finding out where she stands on most important progressive issues). In what should be a lesson to any political neophytes, Jerry Crawford, the shitbag Monsanto lobbyist who acted as an adviser for "Ready For Hillary" last year, gave the maximum allowable contribution to Greenfield. And also to Young.
Fortunately, there are, among Greenfield's rivals, two progressive candidates.
Pete D'Alessandro was Iowa campaign coordinator for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and went on to work for Sanders in several other states before going to the Democratic convention as Sanders' delegate director.
"He credits grassroots organizers for working to get the country ready to elect people who will push progressive agendas. But he says those agendas need to be front and center during the 2018 elections if Democrats hope to take back Congressional seats.
"He envisions a campaign less about opposition to President Donald Trump and more about a new plan for Iowans and Americans. 'It's not enough to say "I'm against this,"' D'Alessandro told the Register. 'We have to be offering a vision.'
"Medicare-for-all and a new living wage are part of D'Alessandro's vision; so are combating climate change with the development of renewable technologies and tuition-free college."
It turns out D'Alessandro was a college friend of lefty comedian Jimmy Dore. Jimmy interviews him here:
Bernie Sanders has given D'Alessandro his "strongest" endorsement:
D'Alessandro on Twitter:
Also in the race is Austin Frerick, a 28-year-old economist who worked in Obama's Treasury Department. Frerick is an anti-monopolist who has been outspoken in his opposition to the Monsanto/Bayer merger (which is how Clinton's pet Monsanto lobbyist mentioned earlier came into the picture). Opposition to that merger is, in fact, the very first item covered on the issues page of Frerick's website. Frerick supports reinstating Glass-Stegall, electoral reform, single-payer healthcare, "the creation of a universal higher education system through the expansion of free public community colleges and state universities," etc.
David Feldman interviews Frerick:
Frerick on Twitter:
J.D. Scholten is challenging Republican incumbent Steve King in Iowa's 4th District. This is the most Republican district in the state; King, a protofascist half-wit and racist, has won his reelection efforts by a hair over 60%, though against mostly weak competition. Scholten is a former pro baseball player and paralegal.
"Scholten was born in Iowa, but he was living in Seattle last year when Trump was elected president. He said he was inspired by the Seattle Women’s March to get more involved in the political process. 'I just got so moved by the passion and raw energy that happened — I had a moment of clarity,' he said. Around the same time, his grandmother died in Iowa. After attending the funeral, he felt compelled to move home and get involved.
"His immigration platform is diametrically opposite to where King stands on the issue. King has demanded surveillance of American mosques and cozied up to extreme nativist politicians like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Just two months ago, he condemned the concept of diversity altogether, adding to his long history of demonizing immigrants and promoting a homogenous culture.
"In an interview with The Intercept, Scholten portrayed King’s views on immigration as not just out of touch with the northwestern Iowa district’s values, but also in conflict with its economic needs.
"'In this district, we have so many rural communities that are just using immigrant labor as a backbone for their economy,' he said, 'and to have him just spout these things it’s just, obviously on the moral side I’m against it, but on the just practical side, it goes drastically against the district.'"
Scholten supports Medicare For All, the $15/hour minimum wage, a major push for infrastructure investment, battling unfair trade deals, etc.
A Scholten speech:
Scholten on Twitter:
Brent Welder is challenging Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder in Kansas' 3rd District. This is a district that is slowly going blue. While John McCain and Mitt Romney both won there, Hillary Clinton managed to best Trump in the district in 2016; in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders destroyed Clinton there, winning by over 24%. In the congressional race, the DCCC backed Jay Sidie, a Republican-Lite "Democrat"; Yoder then defeated Sidie in the general. Sidie is back for another round in 2018. He, Welder and, to date, three other candidates will be vying for the Democratic nomination and the right to take on Yoder in the general. In a blue wave election--exactly what's likely to happen in 2018--this district is very likely to go blue.
Welder has worked for the Young Turks and Wolf PAC--an org with the singular focus of eliminating the influence of money in politics. He was a Sanders delegate to the Democratic convention and Sanders later chose him as one of his representatives on the platform committee. It was Welder in the latter capacity who proposed the amendment banning corporate money from elections.
"Bernie Sanders inspired me. From the first time I heard him speak, I knew I had found someone who finally said everything I knew what was right—from a $15 per hour minimum wage to single payer heath care system to creating a government that works for us, not the wealthy 1%... I am running because I am tired of billionaires and giant corporations having too much control over our government. We need to get money out of politics, that’s why I’m not accepting any corporate PAC money. I am committed to fighting for the issues I care for..."
Welder's issues page:
An interview with Welder at TYT Politics:
Welder on Twitter:
James Thompson is again challenging Republican Ron Estes in Kansas' 4th District. This is a strongly Republican district--Trump flattened Clinton by a near-30% margin there--but Trump appointed its congressman Mike Pompeo to his administration, leading to a special election in 2017 in which Bernie-inspired Thompson first fought Estes. Thompson's Berniecrat-style populism proved much more popular than Clintonism; with a campaign fueled by small donations and no real support from the Democratic party, Thompson came within 6% of winning. Now, he's back for a rematch in 2018.
Thompson is a civil rights attorney who supports infrastructure investment, mandatory paid sick leave and family leave, mandatory paid sick leave and family leave, campaign finance reform, etc.
Last year, Thompson took part in an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit:
Thompson on Twitter:
Jared Golden is challenging Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin in Maine's 2nd District. The district leans Republican but only fairly recently, in what may just be a consequence of the DCCC's decision to back conservative "Democrats" there (the most recent race resembled the Jon Ossoff debacle in Georgia--it became the most expensive congressional race in Maine's history). Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in the district last year. Golden is a Marine Corps vet who put in time in both Iraq and Afghanistan then ran and was elected to the state legislature, rising to the position of Assistant Majority Leader.
"My campaign is going to relentlessly focus on economic issues: creating jobs with investments in infrastructure, from transportation and public works to renewable energy; strengthening organized labor because as they’ve declined so have wages; opposing trade deals that benefit our neighbors to the north and south more than they do us; pushing for Medicare coverage for all and a fair tax code that benefits the working class."
Golden's campaign site is still a work in progress:
Golden on Twitter:
In Maryland's 6th Distric, incumbent "Democrat" John Delaney isn't running for reelection and there are five Democrats and four Republicans lined up to compete for their parties' respective nominations. Among the Democrats is Andrew Duck, making what will be his 4th run for the seat. Duck is a veteran--spent more than 20 years in the Army. He runs a green energy company with his brother--his campaign website features a green cartoon duck--and does consulting work with the Pentagon. He backed Bernie Sanders in 2016 and has been involved with Our Revolution since. He supports a $15 minimum wage, Medicare For All, breaking up the big banks, a new Glass-Stegall, etc. A brief article he wrote to introduce himself:
His issues page:
A brief Nation of Change interview with Duck:
Matt Morgan is challenging Republican incumbent Jack Bergman in Michigan's 1st District. This is a Republican district, though not by the percentages recent election outcomes might suggest. Bernie Sanders completely destroyed Clinton there, capturing over 60% in the Democratic primary; Trump then destroyed Clinton in the general, a 20+% victory. Democrats ran a less-than-worthless candidate and Bergman won the seat. Morgan is former Marine, having recently retired from the Corps after 24 years as a Lt. Colonel (oddly enough, the same rank Bergman achieved). He supports Medicare For All, the $15/hour minimum wage, ending mandatory minimum sentences and privatized prisons, etc.
A radio interview with Morgan:
Morgan's campaign website:
Morgan on Twitter:
Rob Davidson is challenging Republican incumbent Bill Huizenga in Michigan's 2nd District. The district is strongly Republican, over 60%. Davidson, 46, is a physician who made some headlines when, during a townhall event in 2017, he challenged Huizenga in a lengthy exchange over healthcare.
"'As a doctor, I serve patients from all walks of life in West Michigan, and I hear again and again that they’re tired of career politicians in Washington putting wealthy corporations, insurance company profits and Wall Street bankers ahead of ordinary families,' Davidson said in a statement.
"'I’m running because I want to give back to this community and fight for the families who play by the rules and put in long hours at work yet struggle just to keep up with the bills.'"
Davidson supports Medicare For All, cracking down on polluters, "reducing the income gap," a path to citizenship for immigrants, etc.
Davidson interviewed by Andy O'Riley:
Davidson on Twitter:
Angelica Earl is challenging conservative "Democrat" Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
"Angelica Earl, a former verification specialist for Obamacare who witnessed its flaws first-hand, is challenging McCaskill in support of a single-payer health care system.
"Earl told the Observer, 'I had to do expirations at one point. My second expiration ever, the second one I ever had to do, it was a three-year-old boy. That really upset me to have to expire a three-year-old child. There’s no reason people shouldn’t have health care, so I’m saying from all the people I’ve talked to, the hundreds of people while working at the marketplace, single-payer healthcare is the way to go.'
Earl wants to end Citizens United, institute a ranked-choice voting system, a switch to renewable energy and an "American Dream Tax Plan" that taxes corporate America at a 90% rate but allows corporations to greatly reduce their tax burden by things like manufacturing in the U.S., adopting renewable energy, instituting a parental leave system, etc.
Earl interviewed on WeThePeople:
Early on Twitter:
John Heenan is challenging Republican Greg Gianforte in Montana's At Large House district. Gianforte won that seat in a special election in 2017, infamously assaulting a journalist who asked him about his views on healthcare. Montana is, of course, a strongly Republican state but progressive populist Rob Quist came within 5.5 points and one strongly suspects Gianforte ultimately won only because of very heavy early voting (much of the total was turned in before this incident; Gianforte later pled guilty). Heenan is one of 6 Democrats contesting for the party nomination (Gianforte is facing a Republican primary challenger himself). Heenan is a consumer protection lawyer from Billings who has also worked as a special prosecutor for the state, prosecuting corrupt politicians in dark money cases. "I've spent my career fighting on behalf of Montanans against banks, against insurance companies, against greed," he says. "[W]hen I talk healthcare, it's not wonky stuff, it's 'hey, I've represented people with cancer that had their insurance claims denied. I've represented people and had to help them file medical bankruptcies because we have a broken healthcare system.'" Cenk Uygur interviewed him:
Like everyone else here, Heenan is running against money in politics, funding his campaign on small donations. Among other things, he calls for overturning Citizens United, standing up to Wall Street and the big banks, a $15 minimum wage, maintaining Montanan's access to public lands and gun rights:
Heenan on Twitter:
Kara Eastman is challenging Republican incumbent Don Bacon in Nebraska's 2nd District. The district is almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats--very possibly a Democratic pick-up in a wave election. Eastman is a social worker, the head of the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance. She supports Medicare For All, tuition-free higher education, a constitutional amendment allowing the states and federal government to set limits on money in politics, etc.
Eastman interviewed by Frank Schaeffer:
Eastman on Twitter:
To get to Bacon, Eastman must get through a primary battle with Brad Ashford, which, on its face, shouldn't seem too difficult. Ashford, who has a long history of opportunistic party-switching, has served two stretches as a state legislator over the years and a single unimpressive stint as the U.S. Congressman from the 2nd District until he was unseated in 2016. He's a conservative, anti-abortion, nearly always votes with Republicans but incredibly, the Democratic Establishment has chosen to throw its support behind him instead of Eastman. Ryan Grim and Lee Fang:
"The Democratic Party has largely lined up behind former Rep. Brad Ashford to take back this Omaha-based seat. The DCCC and other PACs have provided resources and endorsements to Ashford, who compiled one of the most conservative voting records for any Democrat in the House during his time in office. Kara Eastman... said that, after inviting her to candidate week, the party has attempted to shut her out of the campaign. 'Well, we have been in contact with people from the DCCC since we started the campaign, and I was told that they would be remaining neutral until after the primary, and now it’s clear that’s obviously not the case,' Eastman, who has raised more than $100,000, told The Intercept."
Amy Vilela is running in Nevada's 4th District. The district is just about evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, with a slight advantage to the latter. Vilela has originally intended to challenge the incumbent, Democrat Ruben Kihuen but a sexual harassment scandal caught up with him and he won't be running again. Vilela is (so far) unopposed for the Democratic nomination (two Republicans are competing for the GOP nomination). Vilela's signature issue is Medicare For All and it's a very personal one for her; her daughter was denied proper treatment for an easily treatable condition because of lack of insurance then died. Now, Amy is an activist. Her daughter's story:
Amy Vilela interviewed by Cenk Uygur:
Like everyone else on this list, Vilela is running on a progressive platform and crowd-funding her campaign:
Vilela on Twitter:
Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter is retiring from congress, opening up her seat in New Hampshire's 1st District. This is an utter swing district, almost evenly divided between Repubs and Dems and as one could expect, there's a crowded field competing for it. (7 Democrats, 4 Republicans, a Libertarian and an independent). Mindi Messmer runs an environmental consulting business, served on Bernie Sanders' state steering committee (Sanders completely destroyed Clinton in NH) and, in 2016, was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
"Mindi’s work as a scientist made headlines in 2016 when she blew the whistle about what was later designated the Seacoast Cancer Cluster. In 2014 she discovered that an abnormally high number of children in New Hampshire’s Seacoast were getting cancer—an issue that the state initially sought to brush aside. She was appointed to the Governor Hassan’s Task Force in 2016 to take a leading role on the issue, and elected to the State Legislature later that year.
"As a freshman state representative, Mindi has already been successful in having several pieces of sponsored legislation related to the public health and environmental issues pass into law. She has made clean drinking water, adequate environmental regulation standards and increased scrutiny for public health issues that are triggered by environmental conditions legislative priorities in office.
"'I am running for Congress to ensure clean drinking water for all Americans, to take precautions to mitigate the environmental causes of cancer, and to stand up to industry-backed attacks on science federal agencies like the EPA by Scott Pruitt and others,' said Mindi. 'At a time when the EPA is being dismantled, and environmental policy and regulations are being decimated, I vow to fiercely advocate for evidence-based policy if elected to Congress.'"
Messmer supports Medicare For All, expending Social Security, a $15 minimum wage, etc.
Mindi interviewed by Real Progressives:
Messmer on Twitter:
Here's an interesting one. Lindsay Brown, running to replace Republican Leonard Lance in New Jersey's 7th District:
"Her big goals include checking the influence money has in politics, fixing gerrymandering with nonpartisan redistricting, passing single-payer health care or, at the very least, a public option, addressing man-made global warming, raising the minimum wage so it keeps up with inflation and making sure cost-of-living increases from companies do the same, breaking up the banks, tackling student debt, taking in and welcoming Syrian refugees, and, of course, seeing more women and millennials represented in government. On top of that, she is socially progressive—a strong supporter of LGBTQIA, gender, and racial equality. What’s more, she plans to win by taking only small donations.
"Yet the Democratic Party, she says, has lost her, which has left her only one place to turn."
That's right--Brown is running as a Republican:
Brown interviewed on the People's Perspective & News:
Brown's issues page:
Brown on Twitter:
On the Democratic side, there's a pretty crowded field lined up to take on Lance, among them Peter Jacob, who ran against Lance in 2016. Jacob is a social worker who is running on the People's Party platform promoted by Our Revolution:
Here's a column he wrote to introduce himself:
"So far, the Platform includes Medicare for All, fully funded public colleges and universities, $15 minimum wage, strict protections for women’s reproductive rights with the EACH Act, the Automatic Voter Registration Act, and bold, drastic measures to combat the exponential climate crisis."
Jacob on Twitter:
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez is running for New Mexico's now-open 1st District. Incumbent Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham is leaving in order to run for governor. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced this as one of their big 2018 targets but it's a pretty strongly Democratic district--Lujan Grisham won her last reelection by more than 30 points--and it's probably just a contest to see who can capture the Democratic nomination. There are 7 other Democrats who, so far, have announced candidacies. Sedillo Lopez was a law professor at the University of New Mexico for 27 years and has, for the last few, run Enlace Comunitario, a non-profit that supports women who are victims of domestic violence.
"'I love our community, and I love our state. When I see what is going on in Washington I just see our constitution being ignored,' she said Thursday after sending out an email announcing her candidacy. 'This is the highest and best use of my knowledge, my skills, my values, to go to Washington and fight for our constitution and our state and our community.'
"She said Trump is 'creating an oligarchy where the one percent get richer and richer and the rest of us don’t' and several administrative actions show a 'total lack of understanding of the constitution.'"
Sedillo Lopez is taking no corporate PAC money but has managed to lead the Democratic pack in fundraising throughout the race.
Sedillo Lopez is running on a strong progressive platform that includes support for Medicare For All, building on the Violence Against Women Act, campaign finance reform, tuition-free higher education, protecting voting rights, etc.:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is challenging corporate "Democrat" Joe Crowley in New York's 14th District. This is a strongly Democratic district--more than 70%--yet its presently saddled with Crowley, a notoriously corrupt Wall Street shill and chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Alexandria, by contrast, is taking no corporate money, has no super PAC, she's advocating single-payer healthcare, campaign finance reform, a new New Deal.
Alexandria interviewed by Mike Figueroa:
Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter:
Jenny Marshall is running in North Carolina's 5th District against Freedom Caucus shitbag Virginia Foxx, who, among other things, once declared the murder of Matthew Shepard to be a hoax while Shepard's mother was present in the chamber. Foxx won her last reelection effort by more than 58% of the vote. Marshall has written an article outlining her platform, which includes single-payer healthcare, raising the minimum wage and rebuilding America's infrastructure:
A lengthy "We the People" interview with Marshall:
More details from her campaign site:
Marshall on Twitter:
Dustin Peyer is challenging worthless conservative "Democrat" Heidi Heitkamp in the Senate race in North Dakota. The state is strongly Republican; currently, both houses of the legislature and the governor are Repub. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders completely destroyed Hillary Clinton there in 2016--64% to her 25%. Peyer is a wildland firefighter who, in 2016, served as a Sanders delegate to the state Democratic-NPL convention and ran for the state senate. He supports Medicare For All, marijuana legalization, tuition-free higher education, etc.
Peyer interviewed by Jeff Waldorf:
Peyer on Twitter:
Tom Guild is challenging two-term Republican incumbent Steve Russell in Oklahoma's 5th District. Guild is a professor of Political Science and Legal Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma and a former Republican who, like so many liberal Repubs, was basically driven out of that party by its continuing lurch to the right (in his case, during the Bush Jr. administration). In 2016, when Guild sought this same office and fought a primary battle against corporate Democrat Al McAffrey, McAffrey defeated him by only 40 votes. Russell then destroyed McAffrey in the general. Now, Guild is back and looking for Russell. Guild's platform includes "increasing Social Security benefits, supporting public education, increasing the minimum wage, reducing college student debt, keeping our country's commitment to Veterans, and investing in infrastructure by repairing crumbling roads, highways, bridges, and schools!"
Guild on Twitter:
Jess King is challenging Republican incumbent Lloyd Smucker in Pennsylvania's 16th District. Republicans make up about 54% of the district. King is the executive director of Assets, an economic development organization.
"King, who has never run for public office, said she didn’t anticipate running for Congress until some members of the community approached her with the idea after last November’s election. Ultimately, she said she decided to jump in to 'help change the conversation.'
"That conversation, she said, should include a 'Medicare for all' health care system and tuition-free or very low tuition community colleges and state colleges. It should also include more support for workforce-driven institutions like Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology and further investments in small businesses and childcare, she said.
"Considering the district’s large Puerto Rican community, King said another priority of hers would be to advocate for more U.S. support for the Puerto Rican debt crisis — along with allowing it to become a state if that’s what its residents want."
King interviewed Emma Vigeland:
King supports the $15/hour minimum wage, reinstituting Glas-Steagall, strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and overturning Citizens United:
King on Twitter:
Unfortunately, after King garnered substantial local grassroots support, the Democratic Establishment has opted to support one of her opponents in the Democratic primary, Christina Hartman, a candidate who already ran against Smucker in 2016 and, with the full support of the Democratic Establishment and a big tub of cash, lost by 11%. As Ryan Grim and Lee Fang have covered in the Intercept, "After spending $1.15 million in 2016, [Hartman] had finished with 42.9 percent of the vote. In 2014, a terrible year for Democrats, a little-known Democrat spent just $152,000 to win almost the same share, 42.2 percent of the vote."
Longtime Republican congressman John Duncan Jr. is retiring after his current term, which opens up Tennessee's 2nd District. This is an overwhelmingly Republican district--as in, over 72%. There are currently 7 Republicans and 2 Democrats battling over it but the pick of the litter is definitely Marc Whitmire, who is trying to bring back that increasingly mythical beast, the liberal Republican. Whitmire is a local small businessman and has been endorsed by Brand New Congress. "Our politicians," he writes, "have been bought and paid for by the elites and the corporations, plain and simple. Until we get money out of politics our representatives won't serve us and will just be beholden to their corporate donors. To make sure there is no question who I work for, I will accept no money from lobbyists or big money interests EVER. I take only small, private donations from people like you and me."
Whitmire supports Medicare For All, tuition-free higher education, a living wage and a "responsible tax system." He says he wants to "make the elites and the corporations pay their fair share. The middle class doesn't get 'tax holidays', why should mega-rich multinational corporations?"
Whitmire interviewed on "We the People":
Whitmire on Twitter:
Danielle Mitchell is challenging Republican incumbent Chuck Fleishmann in Tennessee's 3rd District. This is a strongly Republican district--Fleischmann has won his last three election efforts by more than 60%. Fleishcmann is a major shitbag, wrong on every major issue and with major bucks behind him. Mitchell is a physician serving the Chattanooga area and healthcare concerns loom large in her campaign. This is a fiery piece she wrote about how corrupt politicians sabotatge healthcare plans:
Mitchell supports a $13-$15/hour minimum wage, protecting the evironment, "I will hold large corporations responsible for taking care of their workers and will implement policies that discourage them from moving jobs overseas," etc.
Some of Mitchell's campaign ads:
Mitchell on Twitter:
Incumbent Republican Ted Cruz is facing two progressive challengers to his Texas Senate seat, Beto O'Rourke and Sema Hernandez. Something that could make this race very entertaining for political junkies is to see a genuine populist tackling Cruz's phony populist routine--financed by billionaires while talking about his great "grassroots movement" and making it sound as if he's doing voters a favor by running for office and giving them the privilege of casting their ballots for him. A stuffed shirt just waiting for someone to come along and kick the stuffings out of him. It's also the case that Texas is undergoing a demographic shift that will, in the coming years, turn it blue. That still has a few more years to go but if a progressive challenger to Cruz runs a good campaign, it may jump-start the process.
Like everyone else here, Congressman Beto O'Rourke is fundraising on the Sanders model. He's pro-infrastructure spending, pro-marijuana legalization, pro-term limits and in congress, he's already introduced the No PAC Act, which would prevent elected officials from accepting PAC contributions.
O'Rourke on Twitter:
Inspired by Bernie Sanders, Sema Hernandez is also trying to unseat Cruz. "I'm daughter of immigrants, a wife, mother of four boys, baseball coach, small business owner, community volunteer, activist, Democratic Socialist and Berniecrat... I'm running for office to ensure that our children do not become the working poor. I'm running to break the cycle of corrupt politicians that vote in their interest and not ours. I'm running to break the cycle of systemic racism. I'm running to break the cycle of income inequality. I'm running to break the cycle of injustice across the board."
Hernandez supports Medicare For All, tuition-free higher education, a path to citizenship for immigrants, etc.
Tim Black did a good interview with Sema:
Hernandez on Twitter:
Vanessa Adia is challenging longtime Republican incumbent Kay Granger in Texas' 12th District. This is a very Republican district--more than 65%--and Vanessa, a science teacher, is going to have her work cut out for her but a potential Democratic primary challenger left the race, giving her--so far--a clean shot at Granger (who rarely interacts with the people of her district). "I believe strongly in separation of corporation and state," she writes. "I will not take money from corporate PACs because far too many elected officials consider how their vote will impact the corporations that fund their campaigns before they think about the people who they were elected to represent." Vanessa supports Medicare For All, criminal justice reform, guaranteed parental and medical leave, etc.:
Emma Vigeland conducts a good interview with Vanessa:
Adia on Twitter:
Adrienne Bell is challenging Republican Randy Weber in Texas' 14th District. This is Ron Paul's old turf. Weber has been sitting on it since Paul retired and won reelection in 2016 by nearly 62% of the vote. Bell is a teacher running on the Justice Democrats platform--Medicare For All, rebuilding American infrastructure, building a renewable energy future, etc.
An interview with Bell:
Derrick Crowe is one of a growing number of Democrats and Republicans vying for Texas' 21st District, whose worthless Republican incumbent Lamar Smith is retiring after the present term. The 21st is gerrymandered to be a strongly Republican district--as in, more than 60%. Crowe spent some time as a staffer for congressional Democrats and, among other things, a senior staffer for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. He's running on a platform of Medicare For All, breaking up monopolies and "too big to fail" firms, getting money out of politics, free public colleges and universities, etc.
A long interview with Crowe on "We the People":
Crowe on Twitter:
Unfortunately, this is another example of a primary race in which the Democratic Establishment has opted to interfere, backing one of Crowe's opponents Joseph Kopser, a wealthy tech entrepreneur and "ex"-Republican who is pro-fracking and a board-member of the Texas Association of Business (a conservative pro-business lobby). Ryan Grim and Lee Fang:
"Crowe... said he’s been shunned by the establishment. In an interview, Crowe said party leaders focused on Kopser, while ignoring the other candidates in the race. 'The party weighed in and brought someone into this race without any knowledge of the district, the field, whether that person has been fighting for progressive values,' added Crowe. 'They thought [Kopser] could raise the most money, but he doesn’t share our Democratic or progressive values.'"
Letitia Plummer is challenging Republican Pete Olson in Texas' 22nd District. This is Tom DeLay's old gerrymandered preserve. Olson is a major scumbag who, among other things, took part in an effort to impeach then-Attorney General Eric Holder for Holder's refusal to put the federal screws to states that decriminalized marijuana and for refusing to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act after the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. He once claimed Bill Clinton had confessed Vincent Foster was murdered and speculated that Clinton had threatened then AG Loretta Lynch with the same treatment if Hillary Clinton was indicted. And, of course, he won his last reelection effort with nearly 60% of the vote. Plummer is a dentist who is running on single-payer healthcare, free tuition at public institutions of higher learning, a major infrastructure resurrection project, etc.
Plummer on Twitter:
Rick Treviño--not the country music star--is challenging Republican incumbent Will Hurd in Texas' 23rd District. This is the most competitive district in Texas--almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. Hurd is facing a Republican primary challenge for the seat, while there are five Democratic candidates in competition. A blue wave will almost certainly take this seat but the DCCC is, as usual, on the wrong side, choosing to support right-wing Blue Dog "Democrat" Jay Hulings. Treviño is a San Antonio high school teacher who was a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic convention.
"Although he’s entered the democratic field, Treviño has his critiques of the party, saying 'it's lost its way.' The sweeping congressional district runs from San Antonio out towards El Paso and holds about 40 percent of the Texas-Mexico Border. Asked whether he would need to be more moderate in his approach in order to appeal to a wider base, Treviño says he wouldn’t do that.'I’ve never seen a Democrat win an election running in the center, being Republican lite,' says Treviño. 'I am not going to compromise these principles and these values.'"
Treviño, who has been endorsed by Our Revolution, vows to fight income inequality, support Medicare For All, end mass incarceration, support a $15 minimum wage, etc.
Treviño interviewed by Cenk Uygur:
Treviño on Twitter:
Linsey Fagan is challenging Republican Michael Burgess in Texas' 26th District. This is a very strongly Republican district--as in, over 65% Repub since the last redistricting--and it's a pretty long shot, even in a blue wave year. Burgess, who is one of Trump's most loyal congressional lapdogs and votes with him 97.6% of the time, is facing a primary challenge before the main event.
"Fagan, a small business owner, said she did not originally intend to seek a life in politics but could no longer stand by while corporate interests influenced legislators at the expense of her neighbors. 'The American people deserve to be represented by someone who cares more about them than lobbyists and corporations,' Fagan said."
If elected, Linsey would be the first woman to represent the 26th. She supports Medicare For All, legalized marijuana, stands against Citizens United (she supports a constitutional amendment that would allow states to restrict money in politics) and "funds her movement with clean money, and will work tirelessly to protect and strengthen transparency in campaign finance regulation."
And hey, you gotta' love this header from her campaign website, right?
In January, Fagan took part in a debate against Will Fisher hosted by the Denton County Democratic party:
Very long-time incumbent right-wing "Democrat" Gene Green has announced he's retiring, which opens up his seat in Texas' 29th District. This is a strongly Democratic district--usually just shy of 60%--that has nevertheless been represented for decades by Green, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Oil posing as a congressman. Hector Morales, a teacher, is offering a progressive alternative: "Our campaign is about people, not parties or special interests. It's about guaranteeing healthcare, college for all, and renewable energy."
Morales' issues page:
A presentation by Morales:
For years, Texas' 32nd Disrict has been represented by Pete Sessions, one of the most conservative members of congress and a profoundly corrupt official with a long history of bribery scandals. The 32nd is gerrymandered to be a strongly Republican district but demographic changes in recent years have made it more hospitable territory for Democrats and Trump is unpopular there, which could be a particular problem for Sessions, as he has voted with Trump on nearly every issue. Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the 32nd in 2016 but Democrats didn't run a challenger to Sessions that year. This year, they overcompensated: over a dozen Democrats declared their candidacies. Half of them have since dropped out. The Clinton machine is backing worthless Clintonite Ed Meier, a former Clinton adviser who is enthusiastically prostituting his potential future office to Big Money backers at every turn. There are some progressives in the race though.
Colin Allred is one. He's a civil rights attorney and former linebacker for the Tennessee Titans who served as a special adviser in Obama's HUD Department. He supports Medicare For All, a $15/hour minimum wage, automatic voter registration at age 18, etc.
Allred interviewed by Emma Vigeland:
Allred on Twitter:
Another contender in the 32nd is Lillian Salerno, who was Deputy Undersecretary of Rural Development in the Obama Ag Department and helped create a company that desigend a syringe with a retractable needle to keep healthcare workers from being inadverantly stuck and infected with diseases like HIV. She supports Medicare For All, an anti-trust campaign against corporate monopolies, "killing Citizens United," etc.
She wrote a guest-article on Howie Klein's blog about her experiences dealing with healthcare monopolies:
Salerno on Twitter:
Dayna Steele is challenging Republican Brian Babin in Texas' 36th District. This is a major uphill fight--VERY strongly Repub district. Steele is a legendary local radio host, "the first lady of rock n' roll." It's a gig she's had since she was a teenager. She's running on single-payer healthcare, immigration reform with a path to citizenship, LGBTQ rights, a $15/hour minimum wage, etc.
An interview with Steele:
Steele on Twitter:
Garry Hubbard is challenging Republican incumbent Scott Taylor in Virginia's 2nd District. Though a Democrat represented it as recently as 2010, this is considered a safely Republican district--Taylor won the seat by a hair more than 60% of the vote in 2016. Trump won it that year by 4 points but Democrat Ralph Northam beat Republican Ed Gillespie there in the 2017 governor's race. Hubbard is a retired former owner of Hubbard Brothers, a construction company. He supports Medicare For All, a $15/hour minimum wage, major new investments in "STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)", etc.
Hubbard on Twitter:
The 2nd features a crowded field--here are 5 other Democrats duking it out for the nomination. Unfortunately, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has opted to interfere in the race, throwing its support behind Elaine Luria, a conservative Republican who has only just decided to start calling herself a "Democrat." So recent was this conversion that she votef for Taylor in both the Repeub primary and in the general in 2016.
"Months before Democratic voters select their 2nd Congressional District nominee in a June primary, national party leaders are already choosing whom they want to win.
"Of the six Democrats seeking to face Rep. Scott Taylor in November, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Tuesday that it has chosen Norfolk businesswoman Elaine Luria as its favored candidate.
"At least two other Democrats seeking the 2nd District nomination said the committee, which had not spoken to them, needs to let Hampton Roads voters – not a Washington-based group – choose the party’s candidate...
"Jake Rubenstein, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Virginia, said the national group’s decision isn’t backed by the state party, which doesn’t play favorites in a primary.
"'We’re excited about all our candidates,' Rubenstein said. 'We think they’ll all be better than Donald Trump’s ally, Scott Taylor.'"
Dorothy Gasque is challenging Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington's 3rd District. This is a strongly Republican district, about 60%. Gasque is a longtime Army vet, a mathematician and activist who worked on Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign in Washington.
"The influence of money in politics has moved our government away from a democracy and towards a plutocracy. In order to create a government that is truly accountable to the people rather than corporate interests, we need legislation that gets money out of politics once and for all."
Gasque supports Medicare For All, a constitutional amendment to overthrow Citizens United, building "a 100% renewable energy economy in 10 years," a $15/hour minimum wage, etc.
Gasque interviewed by Cenk Uygur:
Gasque on Twitter:
Sarah Smith is challenging long-running Democratic incumbent Adam Smith (no relation) in Washington's 9th District. This is an overwhelmingly Democratic district and there's absolutely no reason why it should be represented by the conservative Adam Smith, a member of the New Democrat Coalition. Republicans, so far, aren't even fielding a candidate there--the winner of the contest between the Smiths will go to D.C. next year. Among other things, Sarah Smith wants to end the War On Drugs and militarization of police forces, get money out of politics, promote a non-interventionist foreign policy. Her campaign site:
"Personally, Sarah Smith, within her first year, would like to introduce or cosponsor legislation 'to start the ball rolling on investment in revitalizing America’s infrastructure, Medicare for all (in the event HR676 does not pass), student loan reform, and investment in alternative energy.' Beyond these specifics, Smith would like to focus her efforts on creating a green energy economy within her district.
"Smith has her sights set beyond the short term, hoping that in five years an infrastructure overhaul will be nearing completion and Citizen’s United will be overturned. These two issues, as they lay the bedrock for her long term goals, seem to be the focus of Smith’s political agenda. She hopes that in the future her constituents will not longer feel afraid, but instead, energized."
A Jimmy Dore interview with Smith:
Smith on Twitter:
The Washington state Democratic party, trying to roadblock Smith's campaign, is giving her the runaround with regard to access to VoteBuilder, the party voter file.
"In Washington's 9th district, Sarah Smith, a Justice Democrat running a primary campaign against incumbent Democrat Adam Smith, was told that access to VoteBuilder required the endorsement of 50 percent of legislative district clubs, plus one, as well as the backing of the state party chair. But state legislators often wait until close to the actual primary to make an endorsement, Smith says, meaning her campaign would have to spend the majority of the race waiting around for endorsements before gaining access to the data. And even then, the likelihood of sitting party officials endorsing a challenger over an incumbent is low.
"Smith says she asked to see where that bylaw is written down, but was refused. The Washington state party didn't respond to multiple requests for comment.
"As a last resort, Sarah Smith's campaign spokesman asked the party for a letter stating they were being denied access to VoteBuilder; at least then, they could get access to SmartVAN. In response, the Smith campaign says they received a Kafka-esque email claiming that even though campaigns can't access VoteBuilder without the endorsements, 'in our eyes, a campaign that doesn't have endorsements hasn't been denied.'"
Smith has been forced to rely on another tool, Political Data, for this work. It's not only inferior, it costs $10,000.
In West Virginia, Paula Jean Swearengin is looking to burn down the Manchin--Joe Manchin, the walking shit-show who filled Robert Byrd's old Senate seat. He's been a persistent tumor in the U.S. Senate, a rightist corporate "Democrat" who acts as the stooge for the state's coal industry. West Virginia is basically a red state--Donald Trump completely destroyed Clinton there, capturing 68.5% of the vote--but during the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders beat Clinton by more than 15 points, carrying every county in the state (Clinton had won WV in 2008; after she lost it by such a huge margin in 2016, the superdelegates gave her the state at the convention). A progressive populist may make a substantially bigger dent than a corporatist. Swearingin is running on the Justice Democrats platform:
Sarah Jones interviews Swearengin:
Swearengin on Twitter:
Kendra Huard Fershee is challenging Republican incumbent David McKinley in West Virginia's 1st District. This is a strongly Republican district; McKinley won reelection last year over his Democratic challenger by a more-than-2-to-1 margin. An Establishment Democrat isn't going to take this district but a populist might just have a shot. Bernie Sanders completely destroyed Clinton in the Democratic race there last year. Howie Klein of ActBlue notes that in Monongalia, the district's biggest county, Sanders took more votes than the top four Republicans combined. Unfortunately, Fershee is going to have to battle a conservative "Democrat" for the nomination, a millionaire named Ralph Baxter. Shortly after announcing her candidacy, Fershee wrote a brief piece to introduce herself here:
Fershee on Twitter:
Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce is looking to take Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's scalp in Wisconsin's 1st District:
"Monday, Randy Bryce launched his campaign to repeal and replace Paul Ryan in a southeast Wisconsin district the DCCC has always made clear to Democrats was 'off the table.' That’s where Randy lives and a bunch of political hacks in DC claiming his district is 'off the table,' isn’t going to stop him for a minute. The fish rots from the head and if Trump can’t be held accountable until 2020, Speaker Ryan’s time is now."
Bryce has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders:
Bryce on Twitter:
In January, Donald Trump's State of the Union Address gave another concentrated glimpse at the grim, wearying cloud of protofascist darkness that presently hangs over the United States. To handle their official response to this circus of horrors, Establishment Democrats sent out the unfortunate Joe Kennedy III, whose bland, platitude-filled nothing of a speech again proved their cluelessness and, perhaps more significantly, their complete worthlessness in combating this building nightmare. Of the idea that anything within the boundaries of American liberal democracy can beat it back, this writer is profoundly skeptical. The real Democratic response to the State of the Union Address was handled by the real leader of the Democratic party, and in this progressive wave outlined above, he sees hope for the future. I'll defer to his optimism and give him the last word here:
"We are seeing the growth of grassroots organizations and people from every conceivable background starting to run for office, and they're running for school boards, city council, state legislature, the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate. In fact, we are starting to see the beginning of a political revolution, something long overdue. And these candidates, from coast to coast, are standing tall for a progressive agenda, an agenda that works for the working families of our country and not just the billionaire class.... Yes, I understand that the Koch brothers and their billionaire friends are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the 2018 mid-term elections supporting the Trump agenda and right-wing Republicans. They have the money, an unlimited amount of money. But we have the people, and when ordinary people stand up and fight for justice there is nothing that we cannot accomplish. That has been the history of America, and that is our future."