2020 Cong. Endorsements

Update 458 — 2020 Cong. Endorsements: 
Primary Winners in ME, NE, NJ and TX

Washington’s heatwave of tempers and temperatures is reaching a fever pitch, with the impending expiration of key economic relief programs and a summer recess ahead, when members of Congress head back home to focus on the elections in the fall. Today, we endorse six Democratic primary winners in July, all fighting to flip red seats. We also cite two House Democratic freshmen who have stood out with their economic policy leadership this term.

With the Democratic National Convention slated to begin on Aug. 17, the clock is ticking for presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden to select a running mate. Who is your choice? Click here and tell us who you want as Biden’s Vice President. Results next week. 

Good weekends, all…

Best,

Dana
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U.S. Senate

Sara Gideon – Maine

  • Cook PVI: Toss Up
  • 2020 Dem. Primary: Gideon 70 / Sweet 23 / Kidman 7
  • Total Amount Raised in 2020 Cycle*: Gideon $24.2M / Collins $16.9M

After a 40+ point win in her primary, Sara Gideon will take on embattled incumbent Sen. Susan Collins in what is shaping up to be one of the most tightly-contested races this cycle. Currently serving as Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Gideon helped expand the state’s Medicaid program and passed key healthcare protections for seniors and people with pre-existing conditions. Sen. Collins is increasingly unpopular in her home state, making herself vulnerable by supporting Justice Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and voting to acquit Trump on all impeachment charges. 

Gideon is running largely on a reform-based platform. Among her top priorities are overturning Citizens United and cracking down on dark money. Gideon is a vocal critic of the Trump tax cuts (which Sen. Collins voted for) and will work to reform the tax code to be more equitable for middle and low-income families. In Maine, she expanded job training programs, passed a universal paid time-off policy, and strengthened collective bargaining rights — all things that she would prioritize in the U.S. Senate.

MJ Hegar – Texas

  • Cook PVI: Likely R
  • 2020 Dem. Primary (Runoff): Hegar 52 / West 48
  • Total Amount Raised in 2020 Cycle*: Hegar $6.6M / Cornyn $22.4M

As Texas edges into battleground territory, MJ Hegar has an opportunity to serve as the state’s first Democratic senator in over 27 years. A Purple Heart-awarded Air Force combat veteran, Hegar first ran for Congress in 2018, narrowly losing to Rep. John Carter in TX-31. Now running for the Senate, Hegar finished first among a 12-person primary in March and sealed the nomination this month in a runoff. In November, Hegar will face Sen. John Cornyn, a long-time member of Republican Senate leadership and recently a staunch defender of Mitch McConnell’s demands for business liability immunity.

Hegar is running to tilt the economic scales back toward working families. She opposes the 2017 Trump tax cuts (which Sen. Cornyn voted for) and has promised to fight against cuts to earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare. Hegar advocates strongly for democracy reform, which earned her an endorsement from End Citizens United. She refuses to accept corporate PAC money and has vowed to fight against voter suppression. A victory for Hegar this fall would signal a blue tsunami and would be key to helping Democrats clinch a Senate majority. 

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U.S. House of Representatives

Kara Eastman (NE-02)

  • Cook PVI: R+4
  • 2020 Dem. Primary: Eastman 62 / Ashford 31 / Harrison 7
  • Total Amount Raised in 2020 Cycle*: Eastman $1.5M / Bacon $2.2M

After coming within two points of defeating incumbent Rep. Don Bacon in 2018, Kara Eastman’s candidacy provides Democrats another opportunity to flip NE-02 blue. Nebraska is a deep red state, but the increasingly blue hue of the country’s suburban areas means that this district, which encompasses the core of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area, is very much in play this November.

With decades of experience in the nonprofit sector, Eastman has a strong track record of serving her community. She founded the Omaha Healthy Kids’ Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to providing safe, healthy housing for underserved children and families. She has made addressing systematic inequality central to her message. Eastman recognizes the challenges that small businesses face accessing capital and has promised to work to expand lending opportunities for community banks and credit unions. She supports tighter regulations on investment banks and a more equitable tax code. Eastman received endorsements from End Citizens United, the Congressional Progress Caucus, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among others, and earned a place on the DCCC’s Red to Blue list.

Amy Kennedy (NJ-02)

  • Cook PVI: R+1
  • 2020 Dem. Primary: Kennedy 63 / Callahan Harrison 23 / Cunningham 12
  • Total Amount Raised in 2020 Cycle*: Kennedy $1.5M / Van Drew $2.7M

Following a decisive victory in her primary, Amy Kennedy will take on incumbent Rep. Jeff Van Drew, whose most notable act in his first term has been his defection to the Republican party during the impeachment proceedings. A former public school teacher and mental health advocate, Kennedy has the public service record to flip this seat back into Democratic hands.

Kennedy’s campaign platform includes many progressive economic priorities. It highlights a “Workers’ Bill of Rights,” which includes increasing collective bargaining power and universal family and medical leave. Kennedy also supports H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, a historic piece of legislation introduced in 2019 that would greatly tilt the balance of power back towards workers. She’s a strong critic of the Trump tax cuts and supports expanding both the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits.

Mike Siegel (TX-10)

  • Cook PVI: R+9
  • 2020 Dem. Primary (Runoff): Siegel 54 / Gandhi 46
  • Total Amount Raised in 2020 Cycle*: Siegel $918K / McCaul $2.5M

When Mike Siegel ran for the TX-10 seat in 2018, he came closer than any prior Democrat to unseating longtime incumbent Rep. Michael McCaul. TX-10 is a large district spanning from Austin to Houston and has been trending bluer in recent cycles. After a decisive primary runoff victory this month, Siegel is well-positioned to finally flip the district.

Siegel is a civil rights lawyer and former public school teacher who is running an unwaveringly progressive campaign in Texas, earning him Sen. Warren’s endorsement. He’s running on progressive economic issues such as a $15 minimum wage and the repeal of right-to-work laws. Recognizing the economic disparities caused by the current crisis, he’s also a supporter of investment in universal broadband. If elected, Siegel would be a strong progressive voice in the House for Texas.

Candace Valenzuela (TX-24)

  • Cook PVI: R+9
  • 2020 Dem. Primary (Runoff): Valenzuela 60 / Olson 40
  • Total Amount Raised in 2020 Cycle*: Valenzuela $1.1M / Van Duyne $1.5M

Candace Valenzuela is primed to flip TX-24 for Democrats this cycle as Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant’s retirement makes it an open seat. Recognizing this opportunity in Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area, the DCCC added Valenzuela to its “Red to Blue” list. Valenzuela finished second in the March primary to Kim Olson but came from behind to win the July runoff by 20 points. Valenzuela is now running against Beth Van Duyne, a former Trump appointed HUD official who secured the President’s endorsement in February. The difference between these two candidates could not be starker.

Before running for Congress, Valenzuela worked in education and first got involved with politics by unseating an 18-year incumbent on her local school board. This is Valenzuela’s first congressional campaign, and she’s running as a steadfast progressive. One priority is to address income inequality through raising the minimum wage and providing student debt relief. To address our current economic crisis, she supports a wage replacement program to keep workers on employers’ payrolls. Valenzuela’s progressive vision earned her an endorsement from Sen. Warren and the late Rep. John Lewis.

Special Honorees

  • Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19): Since his election in 2018, Rep. Antonio Delgado has been a tireless advocate for his constituents in NY-19. Rep. Delgado sits on the House Small Businesses Committee, where he has played a key role in the committee’s prioritization of progressive issues such as employee ownership, corporate social responsibility, and support for women and minority business owners. In recent months, Rep. Delgado introduced legislation to help save small businesses and support local communities who have largely been missed by COVID relief efforts. His Small Business Repayment Relief Act, which was included in CARES, made a critical change to the Paycheck Protection Program. This allowed the Small Business Administration to waive loan repayments for six months.
  • Rep. Madeleine Dean (PA-04): A freshman who came in with the 2018 Democratic wave, Rep. Dean has legislated like a veteran in her first term. On House Financial Services, she has been a tireless advocate for lending reforms for service members and student borrowers. During this economic crisis, Rep. Dean has championed greater relief for small businesses and needed reforms to broaden access to the Federal Reserve lending facilities. PA-04 would be well served with Rep. Dean at the helm for another term.

*Total campaign receipts according to most recent FEC filings.

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