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The Wave Of Roses: August 7th Primaries Mark Big Opportunity For Justice Democrats

The Wave Of Roses is a Citizens Truth series which highlights progressive candidates and organizations which challenge corporate Third Way control of the Democratic Party. This entry looks at key United States House of Representatives races for the reignited movement in the United States.

Later today 13 Justice Democrat-endorsed candidates face primary elections in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington state. While each candidate has received endorsements from other progressive organizations, this may be the most important primary date for the Justice Democrats organization. The March 6th primaries in Texas saw four Justice Democrat-backed candidates advance to November primaries, while on June 26th, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated decades-long incumbent Joe Crowley in a landslide.

If the majority of the 13 candidates win their primary elections, it would make ignoring the momentum of the organization difficult by establishment media outlets. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and The Young Turks have helped the slate of candidates increase their name recognition, while also aiding in their grassroots fundraising.


Brent Welder (KS – 03): Welder has seen Political Action Committees (PACs) dump late money into his race, similar in fashion to what happened in Greg Edward‘s race in Pennsylvania’s 7th congressional district primary. Emily’s List reportedly spent $400,000 in favor of Sharice Davids during the late push, while Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) pledged $30,000 to Welder. Of note, Welder has a substantial seven point lead in polls against Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder.

James Thompson (KS – 04):  Thompson is a civil rights lawyer and Army Veteran, who like Brent Welder benefited from Senator Bernie Sanders (I – VT) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visiting Kanas at the end of July to stump for both of their campaigns. He narrowly lost to incumbent Ron Estes in a 2017 special election, a surprising result in what the Cook Partisan Voter Index measures as an R +15 seat. Thompson is expected to defeat his primary opponent Laura Lombard and move on to the general election.


Matt Morgan (MI-1): Marine Corps Veteran Matt Morgan is technically running unopposed in his primary, yet his name will not appear on the ballot due to a technicality. However, he has been campaigning as a write-in candidate and will advance to the general election against Republican incumbent Jack Bergman if projections come to pass with Michigan’s write-in formula. In what is expected to be a wave year from the left, Bergman would be in danger against Morgan as the seat is only an R +8.

Robert Davidson (MI-02): Rob Davidson is a Doctor running in the district where Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is from. Davidson is running unopposed and has a great opportunity to defeat Republican Bill Huizenga in the November general election. The district is R +9, meaning it should be a tightly contested race.

David Benac (MI-06): Benac is running in a crowded field, yet his Social Democratic platform is by far the most progressive among his primary opponents. If he is able to defeat the field, a November general election against incumbent Fred Upton. Upton has represented in the United States Congress since 1987, yet his district is only R +4, meaning there will be a competitive election come November.

Fayrouz Saad (MI-11): Fayrouz Saad is also competing in a crowded Democratic primary. Republican incumbent David Trott is not seeking re-election in the R + 4 district. If elected she will become the first Muslim woman to serve in the United States Congress. She has a staunch progressive platform, much like other Justice Democrat candidates.

Rashida Tlaib (MI-13): Tlaib also has the opportunity to become the first Muslim woman elected to the United States Congress, along with being the first Palestinian-American as well. She is a former Michigan State Representative and is the favorite to win in a tightly contested special election. The winner will serve out the remaining two months of John Conyers Jr’s term after he resigned over sexual harassment allegations in December of last year. The district is rated D +32 by the Cook Partisan Voter Index.

Abdul El-Sayed (Gov): Dr. Sayeed has the opportunity to become the first Muslim gubernatorial nominee for a major party in United States history. A Sayeed victory would be the second gubernatorial success Justice Democrats helped author during the primary season after Ben Jealous won the Maryland gubernatorial primary in June. Sen. Bernie Sanders has campaigned for El-Sayed during the cycle and is hoping his popularity in the state boosts the young progressive to victory.


Cori Bush (MO-01): Bush is running against 18-year incumbent William Lacy Clay and two other primary challengers. Prior to running for office, Bush gained recognition for organizing activists in the St. Louis area who demonstrated against excessive force used by local police. She has received endorsements from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nina Turner, and Our Revolution to go along with Justice Democrats. Last night on Rebel HQ on The Young Turks Network Bush stated that she turned down $250,000 of PAC money during her campaign in order to stay true to her Justice Democrats platform.

James Schoolcraft (MO-07): Schoolcraft is a Physician Assistant and currently serves in the Missouri Army National Guard as a medical officer. Despite running in an R +23 district, he has three primary opponents who want to run against Republican Billy Long in the November general election. Jamie is running to fix the nation’s healthcare system and rebuilding the middle class.


Dorothy Gasque (WA-03): Gasque served eight years in the United States Army. When deployed to Iraq in 2005 she was the only woman in an otherwise all-male combat unit. Dorothy is running on a platform to end unnecessary foreign combat, removing dark money from politics, and Universal Healthcare. Washington has a top-two mail-in primary, meaning the two candidates receiving the most votes will move on to the November general election. Republican incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler is expected to advance. Gasque is one of six challengers looking to move on and is the most progressive candidate in the race.

Pramila Jayapal (WA-07): Rep. Jayapal endorsed against fellow Justice Democrat Sarah Smith who is running in Washington’s 9th congressional district. Citizen Truth broke the significance of the endorsement and the hidden nature of it. However, Jayapal only has one challenger in her primary and is guaranteed to be on the ballot in November, and is highly likely to win reelection in the solid democratic district. If Sarah Smith moves on to the general election, Jayapal’s endorsement against her is likely to gain more national attention.

Sarah Smith (WA-09): Sarah Smith is running against decades-long Democratic incumbent Adam Smith and Republican Doug Basler. She recently began receiving national attention after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory over incumbent Joe Crowley in New York. The district is D +21, making it extremely likely that Sarah Smith will move on to face the incumbent Smith in the November general election. Citizen Truth recently had the opportunity to speak with Sarah Smith.

David Benac, Cori Bush, Robert Davidson, Dorothy Gasque, Matt Morgan, Jamie Schoolcraft, Sarah Smith, James Thompson, and Brent Welder all spoke to Cenk Uygur on Rebel HQ last night.


The Wave Of Roses: These Candidates Could Become Progressive Stars In Congress With Ocasio-Cortez


Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates


  1. Walter Yeates August 7, 2018


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