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A group of wealthy progressives announced Thursday that it will support primary challenges against Rep. Henry Cuellar, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, and other right-wing Democrats who have actively obstructed President Joe Biden's legislative agenda and, in the process, potentially boosted the GOP's chances of retaking Congress.

"These radical moderates have done more damage to President Biden’s agenda than Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz combined," Erica Payne, president of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement announcing the organization's endorsements for the looming 2022 midterms—and its plans to back campaigns to unseat right-wing Democrats in this year's elections and beyond.

"We must stop contributing to and endorsing candidates who are actively sabotaging the president's agenda."

"Their outright sabotage of President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, likely done on behalf of their donors, left us with no choice—it's time to draw a line in the sand," Payne continued. "It's time for the American people to expect better from Democrats, and for the party to hold its elected officials to a higher standard."

Founded in 2010 in opposition to then-President Barack Obama's extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, the Patriotic Millionaires had never waded into the realm of congressional primaries before Thursday, when it officially endorsed Cuellar's progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros as well as Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), who is taking on Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) in Georgia's newly drawn 7th Congressional District.

But the group doesn't intend on stopping there, pointing to a list of 15 congressional Democrats it characterizes as "The Problem(s)." In a press release, the Patriotic Millionaires said they plan to follow the endorsements of Cisneros and McBath with "further challenges to some of the Democrats who have spent the last year sabotaging the Biden agenda at every turn."

The group told CNBC that its members will be providing financial support to the Democratic primary challengers it endorses.

The Patriotic Millionaires' list of Democratic obstructionists includes prominent figures such as Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who for months have stood in the way of the Build Back Better package and defended the archaic legislative filibuster, which Republicans have wielded repeatedly to block voting rights legislation.

Sinema and Manchin are both up for reelection in 2024.

Also featured on the organization's list are Democratic Reps. Richard Neal (Mass.), Jared Golden (Maine), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), and Ed Case (Hawaii).

"Our country is becoming unstable, largely due to rapidly growing inequality," Morris Pearl, the chair of the Patriotic Millionaires, said in a statement Thursday. "A small number of radical so-called moderates have stood in the way of even the most commonsense reforms because they are too beholden to a few shortsighted ultra-wealthy people. They have decided to have people who work for a living fall further and further behind to preserve the wealth of millionaires and billionaires."

In addition to backing candidates challenging right-wing Democrats, the Patriotic Millionaires endorsed seven Democratic incumbents, including Reps. Katie Porter (Calif.), Andy Kim (N.J.), and Deborah Ross (N.C.).

"It's time for Democratic donors to stand up for working people," said Pearl. "We must stop contributing to and endorsing candidates who are actively sabotaging the president's agenda."

"If Democrats want to convince voters to support them, they need to show voters that being a Democrat means something," he added. "The people we are endorsing are the tireless champions of working people that the party needs more of. It’s time to focus our support and resources behind candidates like them, rather than ones that will actively undermine their colleagues and the country."

Shortly before the Patriotic Millionaires unveiled their endorsements, another progressive organization—Progressive Democrats of America (PDA)—announced its official support for the reelection campaigns of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and several others who represent the flipside of "The Problem(s)."

"Nothing is more essential for our movement than returning all of these progressive champions to Congress with resounding victories—just as nothing would please our opponents more than their defeat," said Alan Minsky, PDA's executive director. "They will pour money into any campaign challenging AOC, or Rashida Tlaib, or Jamaal Bowman, et al., but we can defeat them with an avalanche of small donations."

"Over the next several days, we will announce endorsements for additional incumbents," Minsky continued. "Many excellent progressives will be added to this already-impressive list, a clear sign that progressive power and influence is growing in Congress and across the country."

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    Tennessee Republican Party Reports Record Number of GOP Candidates Running for Office

    Tennessee Republican Party Chair Scott Golden, in a statement exclusively provided to The Tennessee Star, reports that 2022 saw a record number of GOP candidates qualifying to run for office in the state.

    “Red Wave ’22 is sweeping across the nation and there are more Republicans than ever before running in Tennessee. We have more candidates for more offices in more counties than we have ever had in the history of Tennessee,” said Golden.

    “The overwhelming majority of voters chose the Republican ballot in our most recent elections. We view that as further proof that our country is about to right itself to get rid of the Biden and the Democrat policies that are hurting everyone,” he added.

    In total, 7,090 individuals of all parties pulled petitions paperwork statewide.

    Of those, 5,941 were returned to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office. Of that number, 2,719 were Republicans, 2,623 were Independents, and 598 were Democrats.

    1,734 Republicans made it through to their primary elections ballot. 330 Democrats made it through to their respective primary ballots.

    According to the TRP, amongst local, state, and federal election GOP primaries, 38 candidates were challenged in accordance with the bylaws of the Tennessee Republican Party, which is empowered by the state code to determine who is a “bona fide Republican.” Of those, 24 challenged were restored to the ballot.

    To put it another way, 1,734 Republicans were qualified by the TRP for the primary ballot and 14 were disqualified. Those numbers underscore the fact that the challenge process, while a basic tool that the Tennessee Republican Party has in its toolkit, is used sparingly, and only offenders who clearly fail to meet the qualifications of the TRP bylaws are disqualified from the ballot.

    The local Republican primaries came and went on May 3. The remaining GOP primaries in Tennessee, which include statewide, TRP state executive committee, General Assembly, and U.S. House offices, are scheduled to take place on August 4, 2022.

    2022 is expected to be a wave year for Republicans nationwide, and if Tennessee’s Republican candidate recruitment efforts are any indication, the Volunteer State will be a part of that red wave.

    – – –

    Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected] Follow Aaron on GETTR, Twitter, and Parler.
    Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Author Unknown. CC BY-SA 3.0.


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