Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and the progressive groups Indivisible and Sunrise Movement all are lending their support to progressive insurgent Dr. Arati Kreibich's bid to unseat right-wing Democrat Rep. Josh Gottheimer in Tuesday's New Jersey primary.
"With over 500,000 calls and 400,000 texts sent directly to voters by over 1,100 volunteers, our grassroots campaign has put in the work to talk to voters about why we need real change in this election," Kreibih tol Common Dreams.
In a video posted to Sanders' popular Twitter account Sunday, Kreibich cast the contest as between two competing visions of right and wrong in New Jersey's 5th District.
"We need elected leaders who are going to stand for what is morally right," said Kreibich. "Who are going to stand up for humanity. That, at the end of the day, is what people in the community respond to."
“We need elected leaders who are going to stand for what is morally right. Who are going to stand up for humanity. That, at the end of the day, is what people in the community respond to.” –@Arati4Congress pic.twitter.com/4W40lWxzal
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 5, 2020
"Arati decided to take on the incumbent Democrat in her district because she knows that this moment requires bold, progressive leadership," Sanders said in a statement June 16.
Pressley, in a statement announcing her endorsement last month, highlighted Kreibich's progressive policy priorities and the need for bold leadership in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"An immigrant, a scientist, and a mother, Arati is ready to step up and provide real leadership for the people of the New Jersey 5th," said Pressley. "She is ready to help our communities recover from this crisis, and to advance bold solutions like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal."
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Gottheimer's conservative positions have him increasingly at odds with the direction of the Democratic Party, as HuffPost's Daniel Marans reported Monday.:
When he is not using his perch on the Financial Services Committee to lavish praise on the country’s most powerful financial executives, he's appealing to the Federal Reserve to allow more predatory lenders into one of the central bank's emergency bailout programs. (This cycle alone, Gottheimer raised more than $875,000 from the securities and investment industry, making him the largest recipient of financial sector cash in the House.)
These are not mere stances for Gottheimer. He organized the Problem Solvers Caucus as a bloc capable of exercising veto power over legislation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wanted to advance. In June 2019, Gottheimer used that power to prevent the House from passing its own border funding bill with tougher humanitarian conditions on enforcement funding aimed at managing a sudden influx of asylum seekers.
While Kreibich faces an uphill battle to unseat the incumbent—recent internal polling reportedly showed Gottheimer with a whopping 41 point lead—a source close to the insurgent campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Common Dreams that the mood in the Kreibich camp is bullish.
Citing the demographics of the over 40,000 mail in ballots already received—60% women and 60% under 65—the source said that the polling from June may have missed Kreibich's recent surge since being endorsed by Sanders, Pressley, and progressive groups.
Kreibich told Common Dreams that the coalition she's assembled should not be overlooked.
"Our campaign's incredible coalition includes Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Indivisible, Sunrise, PCCC, and dozens of other groups because we all recognize it's worth electing a real Democrat in N.J.-5," said Kreibich. "I'm thrilled by our campaign's momentum heading into Election Day!"