The Wave Of Roses: These Candidates Could Become Progressive Stars In Congress With Ocasico-Cortez
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.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s victory over long-time incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley in New York shocked every mainstream political analyst. Many of which diminished the victory down to demographics, while giving slight mention to the Cortez campaign and platform.
However, Cortez is far from the only United States House of Representatives candidate running on a progressive platform. Each of the following candidates has endorsements from Justice Democrats and at least one local branch of Our Revolution. Each has also been featured on the largest political news network based on the internet The Young Turks, often providing the candidates a platform when other large television and print outlets have not.
The following candidates and Ocasio-Cortez would join Raul Grijalva (AZ-3rd), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2nd), Pramilla Jayapal (WA-7th), and Ro Khanna (CA-17th) as members of the United States House of Representatives with strong progressive platforms if they are able to capture general election victories in November.
Sarah Smith, 9th Congressional District of Washington
Sarah’s Smith primary race in Washington nearly mirrors the Ocasio-Cortez race against Joe Crowley. Adam Smith has been a member of the United States House of Representatives since 1996. Most of the sitting Congressman’s donations come from the defense industry and Political Action Committees (PACs).
Much like Cortez, Sarah Smith is at a major funding disadvantage and is depending on grassroots campaigning, efficient spending, and meeting with her constituents to advance past the primaries.
If Sarah Smith is able to place in the top-two of the August 7th primary, she is highly likely to face Adam Smith in the general election this November. The Cook Partisan Voter Index rates the district as D+21, meaning that a showdown between the two Smith’s is the likely outcome.
Sarah Smith spoke about her race several months ago during an in-depth conversation.
Brent Welder, 3rd Congressional District of Kansas
Brent Welder is in a unique position. He is defeating Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder by seven points, according to a Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll conducted earlier this year. However, he must first win a crowded August 7th Democratic primary to face Yoder in the November general election.
Welder’s policy stances allow him to differentiate himself from his primary opponents and he is benefiting from solid fundraising which is presenting him with the opportunity to run a well-funded grassroots campaign.
Mike McCamon, is considered to be Welder’s top primary opponent and is running on the message, “Lead from the Center” echoing a Third Way message which hasn’t done well against Republicans over the past decade.
Welder recently received the endorsement of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who won every Kansas congressional district during the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary.
Dorothy Gasque, 3rd Congressional District of Washington
Dorothy Gasque is a progressive who has an extensive background in the United States military. Per her website:
Dorothy Gasque is a third generation public servant. She served eight years in the U.S. Army. In 2005 she deployed to Iraq, with an otherwise all male combat unit. Although she was trained as an anti-tank missile systems technician, the insurgent forces did not have tanks.
Due to her rank as a non-commissioned officer, she was often asked to lead combat patrols, organize traffic checkpoints, and manage base security.
As mentioned earlier, Washington holds a top-two primary election. Meaning Gasque will have to rely on grassroots campaigning and efficient spending to get her message out to the voters of her district.
A top-two finish for Gasque and Smith in the August 7th primary would signal the progressive message being strong in Washington state — despite candidates being massively outspent.
Ammar Campa-Najjar, 50th Congressional District of California
Ammar Campa-Najjar was able to finish in the top-two of the June 5th California primary despite being the target of a smear campaign from the Democratic party establishment. The Cook Partisan Voter Index rates the district as R+11, however, incumbent Duncan Hunter is currently under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
While the progressive challenger has less cash on hand than Hunter, the incumbent doesn’t have the financial advantage which usually presents a tough obstacle for progressive candidates.
A Campa-Najjar victory in November would provide a boon for the progressive movement, drawing attention from legacy media outlets due to the gravity of defeating a Republican incumbent with the profile of Hunter. Ammar’s grassroots campaigning, available finances, controversy surrounding his opponent, and strong progressive platform allows for a possible Campa-Najjar victory to be more likely than most media figures would consider.
Adrienne Bell, 14th Congressional District of Texas
Adrienne Bell was able to win with a landslide primary victory on March 6th obtaining nearly 80% of the vote. However, the Cooks Partisan Voter Index rates her district as R+12, giving incumbent Randy Weber a perceived advantage going into the November primary.
Despite the makeup of the district and Weber’s fundraising advantage, Bell has time to spread her message throughout the district and activate voters who have not been previously a part of the political process. Bell’s progressive platform is in stark contrast to Weber, allowing her to make her case for being a better representative for the district in Congress.
Weber has received most of his funding from 2017 from the oil & gas industry along with leadership PACs.
In comparison, Bell has the following position on fossil fuels:
I have signed the #nofossilfuel pledge to represent my commitment to prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits. The political contributions from oil and gas companies, has allowed influence over political decisions made by representatives, who accept their monies. This causes laws that benefit polluters, instead of laws that benefit the people. It stops the bold vision we must have on climate change, and future actions. As your member of Congress, I will support policies that support the health of our country, our citizens, and our planet. This includes Initiatives to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses, and investing in renewable sources, such as wind and solar.
Bell’s ability to grassroots campaign could also play a major factor in the general election.
Linsey Fagan, 26th Congressional District of Texas
Linsey Fagan won a tight March primary allowing her to advance to the November general election. Incumbent Michael Burgess has a drastically different political agenda than Fagan. Burgess has received over $524,000 from healthcare PACs since 2017.
In comparison, Fagan says the following about healthcare on her website:
The United States should catch up to every other modern nation and implement a single-payer, medicare-for-all system. There’s no reason we can’t be #1 in the world instead of #37 [Referencing the World Health Organization study]. It’s time to end the destruction of American healthcare by rapacious, price gouging, for-profit, private health insurance middlemen.
Fagan (like every candidate mentioned) not receiving money from corporate PACs and her stance on healthcare will give voters of the Texas 26th a real choice for their representative in November. Much like Bell and Campa-Najjar, Fagan’s grassroots approach and meeting voters in person provide her with an advantage which often goes ignored by political analysts.