Nation: Progressive PAC Backing House Race Long Shots

Posted January 16, 2008 at 6:41pm

Progressive Democrats of America, a grass-roots political action committee representing the party’s left wing, on Wednesday announced its first round of Congressional endorsements of the 2008 cycle.

Only one of the six candidates the group is backing appears to be even remotely competitive right now: lawyer and community activist Donna Edwards, who is in a hard-fought rematch with Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.) in the Feb. 12 Free State Democratic primary.

The other candidates endorsed by PDA are: Bill Durston (D), an emergency room physician who hopes to challenge Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.); Web developer and environmental activist Corbett Kroehler, one of several Democrats seeking to unseat Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.); John Laesch, a carpenter and military veteran who was the Democratic nominee in Illinois’ 14th district last cycle and is seeking the nomination again; artist and anti-war activist Randi Scheurer, who is challenging Rep. Melissa Bean (Ill.) in the Democratic primary; broadcaster Samm Simpson, who took 34 percent of the vote as the Democratic nominee against Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) in 2006 and is trying again; and computer programmer Clint Curtis (D), who is seeking a rematch with Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.).

“The presidential race has been getting all the attention this month, for good reasons, but there are also many races in key Congressional districts where progressives have a real chance of making gains,” said Tim Carpenter, PDA’s executive director.

But some of the candidates the group has endorsed are running against Democrats who have been informally blessed by the party establishment. Curtis, for example, is in a primary with former Florida state Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, who has been touted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Although Laesch was the nominee in 2006 against then-Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), many Democrats believe that millionaire scientist Bill Foster (D) has a better chance than Laesch of winning the seat now that Hastert is retiring.

And in Florida’s 10th district, Simpson will surely get company in the Democratic primary if Young retires.
— Josh Kurtz