ABC News just reported on last night’s stunning insurgent primary victories in Connecticut, Vermont, and Wisconsin:“It was a big night for progressives, as candidates backed by the Working Families Party swept their primaries.”1Nights like this, when all our work pays off, are sweet. But they don’t happen on their own. They happen because of years of organizing on the ground, hours of doorknocks and calls by grassroots volunteers, and generous contributions from supporters like you.
But the challenge we face right now is even bigger. We need to make sure WFP’s insurgent primary winners are all elected in November. Many of them are facing uphill challenges against right-wing Republicans — and we know we can’t count on the Democratic establishment to help us win. We can only count on each other.
Last night’s huge victories for WFP included:
- Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin WFP member and union ironworker whose electric grassroots campaign in WI-01 had already forced Paul Ryan into retirement. Yesterday, we took one giant step closer to electing “Ironstache” to replace him in Congress.
- Jahana Hayes, the 2016 Teacher of the Year and Connecticut WFP candidate for Congress in CT-05, who took on the local Democratic party establishment and who is set to become the first ever Black Democrat to represent Connecticut in Congress.
- Christine Hallquist, who won the Democratic nomination for governor of Vermont with the support of WFP and our friends at Trans United Fund. She has already made history as the first-ever trans candidate to become a major-party nominee for governor, but now she is facing a popular Republican Governor in November.
- Earnell Lucas, who Wisconsin WFP helped power to a decisive victory in the Milwaukee County Sheriff race against the hand-picked successor to notorious Trump ally Sheriff David A. Clarke.
- Mandela Barnes, a longtime Wisconsin WFP progressive champion who won his race and became the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor.
- And many more, like Matt Lesser and Mary Abrams, who won their primaries for state senate in Connecticut last night; as well as Marisabel Cabrera and Liz Sumnerwho won state house primaries in Wisconsin.
In so many of these races, the early support of Working Families Party members was critical. When the corporate Democratic establishment wasn’t there for them, WFPwas, helping recruit, train, support, and get out the vote for them along with our allies.
And we’re not done yet. We have a few more critical primaries coming up, for candidates like Cynthia Nixon, Jumaane Williams, and the challengers to the turncoat IDC Democrats in the state senate in New York, progressive challenger Kerri Harris for U.S. Senate in Delaware, and Aaron Regunberg for Lt. Governor in Rhode Island.
We’ve shown that grassroots candidates like these can win if we give them a fighting chance. But we also know what they’re facing from now until November: millions of dollars in TV ads attacking them for standing with working families and their working class background.
1. Progressive candidates bounce back in key Midwest races, ABC News, August 15, 2018.