In the wake of the 2016 election, many progressive Democrats looked at the defeats the party had suffered and offered a theory: Democrats were losing, particularly in red areas, because they were offering a watered-down message and not standing for bold proposals voters could get excited about. Kara Eastman, who led a nonprofit and was a board member of a community college, defeated former Rep. Brad Ashford for the Democratic nomination. Ashford, a former Republican with a moderate voting record who lost his seat in 2016, had the full backing of the Democratic establishment, earning a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s list of “Red to Blue” candidates and receiving donations from the PAC of Democratic House leaders Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, but fell short in an attempt at a rematch with Republican Don Bacon.
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