Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday endorsed neuroscientist Dr. Arati Kreibich in her bid to unseat second-term New Jersey Rep. Joshua Gottheimer, a corporate-friendly conservative Democrat who has repeatedly undermined progressive policy goals in Congress while securing favors for the financial industry.
"In the midst of this crisis, millions of Americans are rising up to demand we stand up to Donald Trump, enact healthcare for all, and take bold action on climate change. It's time we elected a leader in NJ-5 who will listen."
—Dr. Arati Kreibich
"As a neuroscientist, Arati conducted research on opiate addiction and after working directly with pharmaceutical companies, she gained a clear understanding of the major shortcomings of our for-profit healthcare system," Sanders said in a statement. "She understands that healthcare is a right for all, and not a privilege for the wealthy few."
"Arati decided to take on the incumbent Democrat in her district because she knows that this moment requires bold, progressive leadership," the Vermont senator added. "Now is not the time to think small. If we come together to elect Arati, we will have a member of our movement fighting for our values in Congress."
The New Jersey Democratic primary is scheduled to take place on July 7.
In a statement, Kreibich thanked Sanders for his endorsement and said she is "inspired by the movement he has been able to build."
"I look forward to carrying that mantle forward by fighting for progressive change in Congress," said Kreibich. "In the midst of this crisis, millions of Americans are rising up to demand we stand up to Donald Trump, enact healthcare for all, and take bold action on climate change. It's time we elected a leader in NJ-5 who will listen."
It’s an honor to be endorsed by Sen. @BernieSanders. This endorsement shows that our campaign resonates in NJ-5 and across our nation. We are building the future that the people are demanding. pic.twitter.com/PA1Jj3Z37s
— Dr. Arati Kreibich for Congress (@Arati4Congress) June 15, 2020
Kreibich's platform includes big-ticket progressive agenda items like a Green New Deal, a $15 federal minimum wage, and Medicare for All. The insurgent candidate's website also emphasizes priorities such as expanding Social Security, ending cash bail and the death penalty, and implementing universal vote-by-mail.
The neuroscientist's grassroots campaign—which has won the backing of national progressive groups like the Sunrise Movement and Indivisible—is taking on a congressman whose ability to quickly rake in corporate cash earned him the nickname "human fundraising machine."
Kreibich, who has vowed to reject corporate PAC money, told The American Prospect last month that she hopes her superior organizing and grassroots support can overcome Gottheimer's massive fundraising advantage, accumulated with the help of private equity firms, Wall Street banks, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"We were knocking on 1,000 doors a week [before the Covid-19 pandemic], well on our way to our 100,000-door goal," said Kreibich. "Now we're doing digital and virtual, and we've made 90,000 contacts at this point, phone calls and texting."
"We're seeing how folks are doing and connecting them with mutual aid resources, PPE collection and delivery, and delivering meals," Kreibich added. "Here we have folks who need real relief in North Jersey. People who are struggling on a daily basis while he's siding with Republicans and predatory lenders."