Despite being outraised 250-1 by her establishment-backed opponent, progressive environmentalist Marquita Bradshaw scored a stunning upset victory in the Tennessee Democratic primary for an open U.S. Senate seat on Thursday after running on a platform that included Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.
James Mackler, one of Bradshaw's four primary competitors, was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and raised more than $2 million over the course of the campaign, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Bradshaw, by contrast, had the backing of the Memphis-Midsouth chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America and raised just over $8,400.
"The progressive movement is undeniable!" Bradshaw, whose campaign consisted entirely of volunteers, tweeted following her win. "Thank you all so much for your support and this victory. It's time to put hardworking people first. Onward."
Y’all — @Bradshaw2020, a progressive who supports Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, just won her Senate primary race in Tennessee.
Her DSCC-backed opponent had raised $2.1M.
Bradshaw raised $8,400.
Don’t ever tell us that progressives can’t win in the South. https://t.co/buXhM8iqqv
— Rose Movement (@Rosemvmt) August 7, 2020
The youth-led Sunrise Movement celebrated Bradshaw's win as a testament to the power of her vision of a Green New Deal that "puts racial justice at its core."
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"She took down the party-backed candidate who raised millions of dollars," the group tweeted. "It's 2020 and big things are happening y'all."
Environmental justice is social justice. I've lived in Memphis for 46 years, and I am proud to call it home.
But let's face it– TN deserves better. Tomorrow, you get to decide which direction we're headed.
— Marquita Bradshaw (@Bradshaw2020) August 5, 2020
In November, Bradshaw will face off against former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, who prevailed in a close Republican primary race Thursday with the backing of President Donald Trump. No Democrat has won a Senate election in Tennessee since 1990.
"This is a network that has reached across Tennessee," Bradshaw said of her campaign. "Now it's time to move forward to flip this U.S. Senate seat. And we can do it by working together, by staying true to the principles... by listening to voters."
"I don't have an opponent. We have issues to solve," Bradshaw added. "And that's the reason why we're leading in the state right now. And that's how we're going to flip this U.S. Senate seat."