A number of progressive groups on Thursday decried Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi paints Trump and McConnell as twin impediments to progress Democratic stars unleash fury of assaults on Trump Over 50 current, former law enforcement professionals sign letter urging Congress to decriminalize marijuana MORE‘s (D-Calif.) endorsement of Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyProgressive Bowman endorses Markey ahead of Massachusetts primary NY Democrat Omeed Malik joins Daily Caller as minority investor, contributing editor Kennedy: Markey is ‘weaponizing’ my family’s history MORE III (Mass.) over incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyProgressive Bowman endorses Markey ahead of Massachusetts primary Kennedy: Markey is ‘weaponizing’ my family’s history Martin Luther King III endorses Kennedy in Senate primary MORE (Mass.) in the Bay State’s Democratic Senate primary, accusing her of a “double standard” in endorsing a challenger to the party’s incumbent.
“This move reeks of hypocrisy: the party is setting one standard for progressives and one entirely different standard for the establishment,” Alexandra Rojas, the executive director of the progressive group Justice Democrats, said in a statement.
The Sunrise Movement, a climate change advocacy group, called Pelosi’s endorsement of Kennedy “embarrassing.”
“We’re honestly shocked she had the gall to invoke social movements in endorsing Joe Kennedy,” the group said. “This endorsement is embarrassing because it plainly reveals a ridiculous double standard.”
And a spokesperson for the Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren praises Biden, Harris policies: ‘I love a good plan’ Clinton rebukes Trump, implores Democrats to vote Yang criticizes ‘patronizing element’ of Democratic messaging ahead of convention speech MORE (I-Vt.)-inspired group Our Revolution told The Hill that if the party’s establishment “think we are just going to sit on our hands and take it, they have another thing coming.”
Progressive Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaDemocrats’ platform is built with a lot of ‘We hate Trump’ planks Sanders saw Harris as Biden’s best pick: report Five things to know on the Democratic platform MORE (D-Calif.), who is backing Markey, warned in a tweet that Pelosi’s endorsement will backfire.
“Pelosi endorsing Kennedy is just evidence that supports @EdMarkey case against dynasty and smoke filled rooms anointing candidates. Bold prediction: it will backfire,” Khanna said. “Markey’s up two. My guess is now he’ll win the race by more than 5.”
Pelosi endorsing Kennedy is just evidence that supports @EdMarkey case against dynasty and smoke filled rooms anointing candidates. Bold prediction: it will backfire. Markey’s up two. My guess is now he’ll win the race by more than 5. https://t.co/o4gqZneCGw
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) August 20, 2020
Progressives cited a past rule instituted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) that sought to block consultants for the party from aiding and working for primary challengers.
“No one gets to complain about primary challenges again,” progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezYang criticizes ‘patronizing element’ of Democratic messaging ahead of convention speech Ex-Clinton adviser defends Democrats’ showcasing of Republicans The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Delegates stage state-centric videos for the roll call MORE (D-N.Y.), who ousted longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) two years ago, said in a tweet reacting to the news. “So @dccc, when can we expect you to reverse your blacklist policy against primary orgs?”
“Because between this & lack of care around @IlhanMN’s challenger, it seems like less a policy and more a cherry-picking activity,” she added, referring to fellow progressive Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarLoomer win creates bigger problem for House GOP Twitter won’t unban far-right activist Laura Loomer after GOP primary win McEnany: Trump ‘hasn’t done deep dive’ on anti-Muslim views of Loomer, Greene MORE (D-Minn.), who defeated her primary challenger earlier this year.
No one gets to complain about primary challenges again.
So @dccc, when can we expect you to reverse your blacklist policy against primary orgs?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 20, 2020
Omar defeated Antone Melton-Meaux earlier this month. But her challenger had locked down several notable endorsements and had raised $3.2 million.
The DCCC previously has said it offered support to all incumbents, including Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives who unseated incumbents in 2018.
Pelosi officially threw her support behind Kennedy on Thursday, saying he represents the future of the Democratic Party.
The Speaker noted that Kennedy played a key role in the Democrats winning a House majority in 2018 and that he “knows that to achieve progressive change, you must be on the front lines, leading movements of people.”
A Pelosi aide told The Hill that Kennedy did not ask for her endorsement, and said she was concerned about the Markey campaign’s attacks on Kennedy, his family’s political legacy and his supporters.
Pelosi took issue with an ad released by the Markey campaign last week in which he invoked former President John F. Kennedy, saying “With all due respect, it’s time to start asking what your country can do for you,” according to the aide.
When approached for comment, Kennedy’s communications director Emily Kaufman expressed the congressman’s gratitude for his endorsements.
“Joe is really honored to have the support of so many colleagues he admires in this race — from Speaker Pelosi, to Progressive Caucus Chairman Mark PocanMark William PocanClyburn bashes Postal cuts: It’s a service, not a business Progressive Bowman endorses Markey ahead of Massachusetts primary Kudlow dismisses funds for ‘voting rights’ as ‘liberal, left wish lists’ MORE, to the late Congressman John LewisJohn LewisHillary Clinton to tell convention: ‘This can’t be another woulda coulda shoulda election’ Democrats officially nominate Biden for president The Hill’s Convention Report: Democrats gear up for Day Two of convention MORE,” Kaufman said.
Meanwhile, Markey reacted to news of Pelosi’s endorsement by congratulating Kennedy.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a tremendous, effective leader who has shattered glass ceilings throughout her career,” Markey said in a statement. “I had the privilege to work alongside Nancy in the House of Representatives for decades. Any candidate would be proud to have her endorsement, and I congratulate Congressman Kennedy on securing her support.”
Markey has received endorsements from the establishment wing of the party as well, including from Pelosi’s political ally Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats use convention to preempt Trump challenges Biden compares relationship with Harris to one with Obama: We trust each other The Hill’s Convention Report: Democrats gear up for Day Two of convention MORE (D-N.Y.), who has campaigned for Markey.
The incumbent senator also has the support of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which works to protect incumbents facing reelection.
Kennedy and Markey will face off in the Bay State’s Democratic Senate primary on Sept. 1. The Real Clear Politics polling average shows the race tied at 44.8 percent.