by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Several candidates backed by Justice Democrats are relying on out-of-district donors in their congressional bids, receiving as little as 1 percent of their contributions from local residents, according to federal campaign records.
Texas candidate Jessica Cisneros has been one of the most high profile candidates backed by Justice Democrats, the liberal group seeking to defeat incumbents they perceive as insufficiently progressive. While Cisneros has received praise from freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), local residents appear more skeptical. She has received just $3,585 of her $190,000 (1.8 percent) in itemized contributions from inside the San Antonio district she hopes to represent.
Cisneros is not alone. Chicago Democrat Marie Newman received just 10 percent, and Columbus, Ohio candidate Morgan Harper received just 11 percent, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.
To fill their coffers, the progressive candidates all relied on donations from distant Democratic strongholds and high-profile endorsements from the likes of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, the first elected politician to run on a Justice Democrat ticket.
Justice Democrats, a PAC launched in 2017 by a former staffer for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), support the campaigns of progressive candidates across the country, and brand themselves as champions of grassroots campaigning that turns down dirty money. All Justice Democrats must sign on to an aggressive progressive agenda—a liberal wish list that includes abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and instituting Medicare for All—and swear off corporate PAC and lobbyist donations.