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'Still Much to Be Done': After Latest Primary Wins, Progressives Take Aim at Next Round of Centrist Incumbents

"Imagine the country we could build if our policy decisions were rooted in love and care for each other."

Dr. Arati Kreibich is one of the primary challengers progressives would like to see unseat centrist incumbents. (Photo: Arati for Congress)

Fresh off a strong showing in Tuesday night's primary contests in Kentucky, Virginia, and New York, progressives in the Democratic Party set their sights on upcoming contests where left-leaning insurgents are challenging establishment incumbents. 

"Progressive wins last night demonstrate that America has reached a turning point," Dr. Arati Kreibich, who is primarying Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), said in a statement. "The time for change is now."

Kreibich, who faces Gottheimer on July 7, is one of a number of progressives vying to unseat centrist lawmakers in this year's remaining primaries.

Coming contests include Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) going up against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse on September 1; Delaware Sen. Chris Coons facing digital marketing strategist Jessica Scarane on September 15; and on November 3, due to the state's "top-two system," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will defend her seat from attorney and fellow Democrat Shahid Buttar in the general election.

Buttar said on Twitter that a sustained, nationwide effort will be needed to unseat entrenched party power brokers like Pelosi. 

"It takes national support to dislodge incumbents who have seized power for a generation," Buttar tweeted.

Scarane also took to the platform to share her hopes for a brighter future.

"A lot of us woke up today feeling good, maybe for the first time in a while," she said. "We're building power. Our ideas are winning. We deserve so much more and we're fighting for it."

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In a tweet that referred to Tuesday's results, Sen. Bernie Sanders called on voters to continue the push "to create a government that works for all our people, not just the wealthy."

"Let's roll up our sleeves," said Sanders. "Let's keep up the good work."

In an essay for Crooked Media, Justice Democrats' Alexandra Rojas and Waleed Shahid wrote that the results from Tuesday made clear bold progressive ideas—not centrist compromise—should be the future of the party:

Last night's results sent a very clear message: the elections of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib weren't flukes—they were just the beginning. Despite the caution that some Democratic strategists have argued for, now is the time to push big progressive ideas. Democrats don't need to play it safe, triangulate with an increasingly fascist GOP, and push the same donor-approved policies that have led voters to lose faith in our democracy this past decade. 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who faces a challenge from his right in Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), tweeted a hopeful message Wednesday.

"The progressive movement in America is strong," said Markey.

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