Progressive candidates are no stranger to spending huge amounts against them in Democratic primaries, especially when challenging incumbent members or running against moderate candidates.
But now co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus campaign team are urging the leaders of the big three Democratic campaign squads to join them in publicly condemning Super-PAC spending in their primary.
“Now is the time to speak with one voice to end their influence in the Democratic primary — where record amounts of millionaire and billionaire money have infiltrated our primary and super-PACs are drowning out the grassroots campaigns of working-class, progressive candidates have,” said Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) wrote in a letter Thursday to the respective heads of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senator Campaign Committee.
“Instead of the Democratic primary being an honest and free exchange of ideas with dominant individual and small-dollar donors, corporate super-PACs have flooded these races with millions of misleading mailers, digital advertisements and television advertisements,” the letter said. “Candidates who have worked hard to build grassroots support in their communities are being overwhelmed by a deluge of external spending.”
None of the Democratic campaign committees immediately responded to requests for comment.
The writing of the CPC PAC leadership comes after a string of high-profile losses for progressive candidates this primary cycle, most recently Jessica Cisneros in Texas, who challenged one of the most moderate Democrats in the House of Representatives, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Cisneros first attempted to challenge Cuellar in 2020, but in both cycles the congressman benefited from millions in external spending in his favour.
After a lengthy recount that ended Tuesday, Cuellar officially beat Cisneros by just under 300 votes. The CPC PAC did not officially support Cisneros as it would violate their standing rule of not supporting challengers from incumbent incumbents. But several CPC members did, including Jayapal.
In the letter, the progressive trio also called on the DNC, DCCC and DSCC to “consider additional action to change the culture and standards within the Democratic primary to preserve democracy with one person and one vote.” They proposed doing so in line with the For the People Act: a voting rights law that includes a number of campaign finance reforms.
The bill passed the House of Representatives but, unsurprisingly, later died in the Senate.
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