The liberal advocacy group Justice Democrats on Wednesday endorsed two primary challengers to Democratic House incumbents and one Senate candidate looking to unseat Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocratic challenger to McConnell raises .5 million on first day of campaign Acosta on shaky ground as GOP support wavers Democrats look to demonize GOP leader MORE (R-Maine).
The progressive organization, which rose to national prominence after backing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTwo Republicans sue Ocasio-Cortez over Twitter blocks Overnight Defense: Drama over 3B House defense bill | Democratic tensions threaten to snag legislation | White House threatens veto | US, Taliban talks end with ‘roadmap for peace’ Dem tensions snag defense bill MORE (D-N.Y.) in her 2018 primary bid against former Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) Crowley Ocasio-Cortez responds to report that Trump compared her to Eva Perón Biden: Mainstream Democrats win general election fights Ocasio-Cortez marks one-year anniversary of her primary win MORE (D-N.Y.), endorsed Marie Newman, who is running against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), and Cori Bush, who is challenging Rep. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayHillicon Valley: Appeals court rules Trump can’t block people on Twitter | Tech giants to testify in House antitrust investigation | DHS set for grilling over facial recognition tech | Commerce to allow sales to Huawei Facebook official responds to Maxine Waters on cryptocurrency project House Democrats call for Facebook to halt cryptocurrency project MORE (D-Mo.).
On the Senate side, Justice Democrats backed Betsy Sweet in her bid for the Democratic nomination to take on Collins next year.
“We are proud to endorse these three women as they fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college, and ending mass incarceration and deportation,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, in a statement Wednesday. “This moment demands courage, strength and a new generation of leadership that is actually going to put aside political ambition, and present solutions that match the scale and urgency of the crisis we face.”
Newman, who narrowly lost to Lipinski in last year’s primary race, announced in April that she would challenge him for a second time. The eight-term incumbent has faced an avalanche of criticism from progressives and some mainstream Democrats over his opposition to abortion and his stances on LGBTQ issues.
“Marie is challenging one of the most conservative Democrats in the House who chairs the Pro-Life Caucus, voted against Obamacare, and was one of the only Democrats to vote against an LGBTQ equality bill. The DCCC says it wants unity but how can we unite with someone who is fighting against Democratic values?” said Rojas.
Bush, a registered nurse, is a Black Lives Matter activist and was elected the first vice-chairperson of the of the Missouri Democratic Party Progressive Caucus in 2017. Clay, a 10-term incumbent, has tried to build stronger ties with the progressive flank after he was challenged in the 2018 primary.
“As a single mother, a registered nurse, an ordained pastor, and an organizer fighting police brutality, Cori Bush has lived a life of service to her community,” said Rojas. “Cori represents so many of the voices we need in Congress right now.”
Sweet, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Maine governor in 2018, announced last month that she would run to take on Collins. She will face a tough challenge in the Democratic primary from Sarah Gideon, Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives and the establishment pick who has the support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“Betsy has spent her entire life fighting for working families all across the state of Maine,” said Rojas. “It’s clear that Susan Collins has to be replaced with a bold progressive champion who will fight to enact Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and free college.”
Justice Democrats has already endorsed two other primary challengers to Democratic House incumbents for the 2020 cycle: Jessica Cisneros against Henry Cuellar of Texas and Jamaal Bowman against Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelProgressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats Focus on learning for security, prosperity in Central America Overnight Defense: Senate rejects effort to restrict Trump on Iran | Democrats at debate vow to shore up NATO | Senate confirms chief of Space Command MORE in New York.
The group has been undeterred by a party policy that forbids awarding contracts to firms that support primary challengers running against incumbent Democrats.
Justice Democrats has also endorsed several House Democratic incumbents.