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Left loses momentum

Thought Leader: Josh Kraushaar
July 31, 2022
Source: Link

An Axios analysis shows the moderate candidate won 14 of 22 congressional primaries this year, when a progressive candidate challenged a more moderate candidate in seats Dems can win. That’s almost two-thirds of the time.

Why it matters: Democrats are tending to nominate pragmatic, electable candidates in a midterm year when they’re running uphill.

Zoom out: Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W. Va.) support for a scaled-back health care and climate-change bill is the latest moderate Democratic triumph over the party’s progressive wing.

Zoom in: The biggest moderate victories include a narrow win by Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, the only pro-life Democrat in the House; a come-from-behind victory by Ohio Rep. Shontel Brown over progressive favorite Nina Turner; and a landslide defeat for former Rep. Donna Edwards against Glenn Ivey in Maryland.

Between the lines: Pro-Israel groups have emerged as key bulwarks for the Democratic center, spending aggressively in primaries on behalf of moderate-minded candidates.

The big picture: Gallup data from last year show that the Democratic party’s voters are almost equally split between moderates and liberals: 51% of Democrats identify as liberal, while 49% identify as either moderate or conservative.

The bottom line: Liberals make up the smallest share of the electorate. Gallup found a 37% plurality of voters ID as conservative, 36% as moderate and 25% as liberal.

The left’s next tests

Another major round of moderate vs. progressive primary showdowns is coming in August, including:

By the numbers

Swing seats (8-3 moderates):

Calif-13: Adam Gray vs. Phil Arballo — MODERATE

Ill.-06: Rep. Sean Casten vs. Rep. Marie Newman — MODERATE

Ill.-17 – Eric Sorensen vs. Litesa Wallace — MODERATE

Nev.-01 – Rep. Dina Titus vs. Amy Vilela — MODERATE

N.C.-01: Don Davis vs. Erica Smith — MODERATE

Ohio-Senate – Rep. Tim Ryan vs. Morgan Harper — MODERATE

Or-05: Rep. Kurt Schrader vs. Jamie McLeod-Skinner — PROGRESSIVE

Pa.-Senate: John Fetterman vs. Rep. Conor Lamb — PROGRESSIVE

Pa.-17: Christopher Deluzio vs. Sean Meloy — MODERATE

Texas-15: Michelle Vallejo vs. Ruben Ramirez — PROGRESSIVE

Texas-28: Rep. Henry Cuellar vs. Jessica Cisneros — MODERATE

Safe seats (6-5 moderates):

Calif.-42: Robert Garcia vs. Cristina Garcia — MODERATE

Ill.-01 – Jonathan Jackson vs. Pat Dowell — PROGRESSIVE

Ill.-03: Delia Ramirez vs. Gilbert Villegas — PROGRESSIVE

Ill.-07 – Rep. Danny Davis vs. Kina Collins — MODERATE

Ky.-03 – Morgan McGarvey vs. Attica Scott — MODERATE

Md.-04: Glenn Ivey vs. Donna Edwards — MODERATE

N.C.-04: Valerie Foushee vs. Nida Allam — MODERATE

Ohio-11: Shontel Brown vs. Nina Turner — MODERATE

Pa.-12: Summer Lee vs. Steve Irwin — PROGRESSIVE

Texas-30: Jasmine Crockett vs. Jane Hamilton — PROGRESSIVE

Texas-35: Greg Casar vs. Eddie Rodriguez — PROGRESSIVE

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