Progressive Maryland launches PAC to back progressive candidates with the mother's milk of politics

jealous_image.jpgThe advocacy group Progressive Maryland has launched a new political action committee to elect progressive Democrats in races for the General Assembly and local offices, as Maryland Matters recounts below.

The New Era PAC's inaugural virtual fundraiser on Saturday was keynoted by Benjamin T. Jealous, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor and current president of the national civil rights group People For The American Way, who spoke at the even

“This is not a time for ‘play-it-safe’ politics,” Jealous wrote in an email invitation to the event. “In Maryland, just like in our country as a whole, we are in a new age, filled with unprecedented challenges and unprecedented opportunities, ready to be met and seized with bold, progressive leadership.”



 

Progressive Md. Launching New PAC to ‘Move the State Leftward’

The advocacy group Progressive Maryland has launched a new political action committee to elect progressive Democrats in races for the General Assembly and local offices.

The New Era PAC's inaugural virtual fundraiser on Saturday was keynotedby Benjamin T. Jealous, the 2018 Democratic nominee for governor and current president of the national civil rights group People For The American Way, who spoke at the even

“This is not a time for ‘play-it-safe’ politics,” Jealous wrote in an email invitation to the event. “In Maryland, just like in our country as a whole, we are in a new age, filled with unprecedented challenges and unprecedented opportunities, ready to be met and seized with bold, progressive leadership.”

As the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Barker put it, "Progressive Maryland isn’t hurting for causes. The political advocacy group’s lengthy “to do” list includes making health care more affordable, minimizing big money’s role in elections, and closing corporate tax loopholes.

What the organization’s favorite candidates often lack is money to promote their ambitious agenda.

“That’s a huge problem progressive candidates face,” Larry Stafford, the organization’s executive director, said in an interview Saturday. “Sometimes you’re going to struggle a little with fundraising.”

Eager to better support state and local progressive candidates — and recruit many more — the organization announced on Saturday the formation of a new political action committee, the New Era PAC.

Stafford told Maryland Matters the PAC has already raised more than $20,000 from about 200 individuals in the past few weeks; that was before hitting a propitious $25,000 mark  during the Saturday virtual launch.

“This is our new political project,” he said. “The goal ultimately is to continue this progress we’ve made in moving the state leftward, both in the General Assembly and at the local level.”

State Sen. Jill Carter of Baltimore said on the call Saturday that she hopes the PAC can help progressive candidates who are Democrats but — at the same time — maintain agendas that often set them apart from others in the party, Barker recounted in The Sun. "“As much as we love them, it is our job and obligation to push them to be better,” said Carter.

It is so important for us to establish ourselves as independent of the Democratic establishment,” said Carter, whose own causes have included criminal justice reform and “Medicare for all” health coverage.

Stafford said candidates endorsed by the PAC would run together as a slate and would be “highly supportive of one another.”

Several activists on the call said the coronavirus pandemic has heightened the need for progressive policies by disproportionately worsening the health status and incomes of the poor.

“The wealth divide in our state has gone from being the Grand Canyon to being something even deeper than that,” said Jealous, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial race to Republican Larry Hogan but says he is still promoting progressive causes.

The program will work hand-in-hand with Progressive Maryland’s year-old People’s Leadership Institute, which is focusing on recruiting and training potential candidates for office.

The organization also has an independent expenditure (IE) group, the Progressive Maryland Liberation Alliance, which also raises money for political activities. Stafford said the new PAC would likely focus on open-seat races, while the IE would target Democratic incumbents for defeat.


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