These candidates are pushing a progressive agenda in the 2020 election cycle after coming up short in the 2018 midterm elections.
Women in the 2018 midterms ran for office and won in unprecedented numbers—but some fell short of victory. Undeterred, several are jumping back in, believing 2020 could end differently.
What’s motivating them to run again in 2020? Heather Barmore, director of public affairs at VoteRunLead—an organization that trains women to run for office and whose program alumni include Cori Bush, a candidate running again this cycle in Missouri—told Rewire.News that there were many reasons why some women mayrun for office again. “A lot of candidates, they didn’t lose by a significant margin, so why not run again?”
In other instances, “they might be a Democratic woman who lost to a Republican man who [is] now thinking, ‘OK, well I see what’s happening in Congress now. I could definitely be better than the person who’s serving there. I’ll give it another try,’” Barmore said. Others, “just still have that passion.”
And in some areas, those in office may not reflect the diversity of their constituents. “They believe and know that they are more representative of the community,” Barmore said. “They’ve done it before. They’re willing to do it again. And they already have the name recognition from the 2018 race.”
Regardless of the reason why they’re giving it another go, here are some of the women taking the leap.
Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District may be considered a safe seat for Democrats, but that doesn’t mean you can expect the Democrat holding it to espouse the party line on issues like abortion rights, LGBTQ rights, or the minimum wage. The district’s representative, Rep. Dan Lipinski, is one of the last remaining anti-choice Democrats in Congress—but he just barely held onto his seat in 2018 when progressive Marie Newman mounted a competitive primary challenge and lost by less than a handful of percentage points.
After she launched another bid to unseat Lipinski in April, Newman—an abortion rights supporter—told Rewire.News that “bunches of things” have changed since her last run for office that may make her victorious this time around. “We have spent the last year working very hard, broadening the coalition,” she said at the time, noting the campaign had “worked in all of the communities” to garner support, working “up and down the line grassroots to grasstops built stronger relationships.”
Newman’s 2020 campaign has made a splash. Both progressive organizations fundraising on her behalf and the campaign itself saw a boost in donations after news broke that the campaign had lost consultants due to the DCCC policy of “blacklisting” vendors who work with those who challenge incumbent Democrats. Then in early May, Newman racked up endorsements from groups including MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. Though the groups had endorsed Newman during the last election cycle, this time around, EMILY’s List jumped into the race early despite having waited until the month before the primary to do so in 2018.