Brand New Congress

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Brand New Congress
Brand New Congress logo.png
FoundersSaikat Chakrabarti
Zack Exley
Alexandra Rojas
Corbin Trent[1]
Executive Director
Isra Allison

Brand New Congress is an American political action committee formed by former staffers and supporters of the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign to elect hundreds of new congressional representatives in line with the campaign's political platform.[2][3][4][5][6]


Brand New Congress is a volunteer-led American political organization that intends to run hundreds of campaigns for United States Congress with candidates of the organization's choosing[7] by the 2018 midterm elections, regardless of party affiliation.[8] The organization plans to make staffing and fundraising decisions for all its candidates at once.[9] About 20 volunteers from Senator Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign formed the group in April 2016 as Sanders conceded the primary to Hillary Clinton.[10] They planned the organization to support Sanders's platform and carry its supporters' momentum into policymaking.[11] Brand New Congress planned to announce 50 candidates by March 2017 and over 400 by July 2017.[9][12] Of the 535 total seats in the United States Congress (House and Senate), 468 will be up for reelection in 2018. The group intends to run both Democratic and Republican candidates,[13] depending on regional demographics, as well as independents when an incumbent wins the primary. Brand New Congress requires candidates to align with Sanders's presidential platform, regardless of party affiliation. While there are large differences in Republican and Democratic policy beliefs, Brand New Congress hopes that people will unify under the goal of reforming Congress.[14]

The grassroots are better qualified to run electoral campaigns than Democratic party operatives ... They just need to be given the tools, the data, the offices and the structure to succeed.

—Zack Exley, former Sanders advisor and a founding member of Brand New Congress[15]

The group attended the July 2016 Democratic National Convention to canvass for support in protester sites and throughout the city. By then the group had raised $85,000, about 90% of it in small donations. Its email list contained 20,000 addresses. Brand New Congress began a tour of 100 cities in mid-2016.[9] Founding members of the group were encouraged by the success of grassroots[16] fundraising in the Sanders campaign, which surpassed the Clinton campaign several times in monthly income.[15] As of October 2016, the group is accepting nominations for future candidates and openly developing its economic platform.[17]

In March 2017, Brand New Congress announced that it had teamed up with Justice Democrats to further its goals.[18]


In the 2018 primary season, Brand New Congress officially endorsed 30 candidates:[19]

Candidate State Party Office Primary date Primary result % General result[20] %
Robb Ryerse Arkansas Republican Arkansas's 3rd congressional district 2018-05-22 Lost 15.8% Did not qualify N/A
Roza Calderon California[n 1] Democratic California's 4th congressional district 2018-06-05 Lost 6.2% Did not qualify N/A
Ryan Khojasteh California[n 1] Democratic California's 12th congressional district 2018-06-05 Lost 4.6% Did not qualify N/A
Chardo Richardson Florida Democratic Florida's 7th congressional district 2018-08-28 Lost 13.8% Did not qualify N/A
Michael Hepburn Florida Democratic Florida's 27th congressional district 2018-08-28 Lost 6.1% Did not qualify N/A
Anthony Clark Illinois Democratic Illinois's 7th congressional district 2018-03-20 Lost 26.1% Did not qualify N/A
David Gill Illinois Democratic Illinois's 13th congressional district 2018-03-20 Lost 14.4% Did not qualify N/A
Brent Welder Kansas Democratic Kansas's 3rd congressional district 2018-08-07 Lost 33.9% Did not qualify N/A
James Thompson Kansas Democratic Kansas's 4th congressional district 2018-08-07 Won 65.3% Lost 40.2%
Zak Ringelstein Maine Democratic U.S. Senator from Maine 2018-06-12 Won[n 2] 100% Lost 10.3%
Rob Davidson Michigan Democratic Michigan's 2nd congressional district 2018-08-07 Won[n 2] 100% Lost 43.0%
David Benac Michigan Democratic Michigan's 6th congressional district 2018-08-07 Lost 21.3% Did not qualify N/A
Cori Bush Missouri Democratic Missouri's 1st congressional district 2018-08-07 Lost 36.9% Did not qualify N/A
John Heenan Montana Democratic Montana's at-large congressional dsitrict 2018-06-05 Lost 31.7% Did not qualify N/A
Amy Vilela Nevada Democratic Nevada's 4th congressional district 2018-06-12 Lost 9.2% Did not qualify N/A
Mindi Messmer New Hampshire Democratic New Hampshire's 1st congressional district 2018-09-11 Lost 9.7% Did not qualify N/A
Peter Jacob New Jersey Democratic New Jersey's 7th congressional district 2018-06-05 Lost 19.1% Did not qualify N/A
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez New York Democratic New York's 14th congressional district 2018-06-26 Won 57.5% Won 78.0%
Richard Watkins North Carolina Democratic North Carolina's 4th congressional district 2018-05-08 Lost 6.5% Did not qualify N/A
Jenny Marshall North Carolina Democratic North Carolina's 5th congressional district 2018-05-08 Lost 45.6% Did not qualify N/A
Marc Whitmire Tennessee Independent Tennessee's 2nd congressional district N/A N/A N/A Lost 0.2%
Danielle Mitchell Tennessee Democratic Tennessee's 3rd congressional district 2018-08-02 Won[n 2] 100% Lost 34.5%
J. Darnell Jones Texas[n 3] Democratic Texas's 2nd congressional district 2018-03-06
First round
Lost 22.1% Did not qualify N/A
Vanessa Adia Texas[n 3] Democratic Texas's 12th congressional district 2018-03-06 Won[n 2] 100% Lost 33.9%
Adrienne Bell Texas[n 3] Democratic Texas's 14th congressional district 2018-03-06 Won 79.8% Lost 39.2%
Rick Treviño Texas[n 3] Democratic Texas's 23rd congressional district 2018-03-06
First round
Advanced 17.5% Runoff N/A
Lost 31.9% Did not qualify N/A
Linsey Fagan Texas[n 3] Democratic Texas's 26th congressional district 2018-03-06 Won 52.7% Lost 39.0%
Dorothy Gasque Washington[n 1] Democratic Washington's 3rd congressional district 2018-08-07 Lost 4.9% Did not qualify N/A
Sarah Smith Washington[n 1] Democratic Washington's 9th congressional district 2018-08-07 Advanced 26.9% Lost 31.2%
Paula Jean Swearengin West Virginia Democratic U.S. Senator from West Virginia 2018-05-08 Lost 30.3% Did not qualify N/A


  1. ^ a b c d California and Washington use a jungle primary system, where all candidates run on one primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and the top two finishers advance to the general election.
  2. ^ a b c d Ran unopposed
  3. ^ a b c d e Texas uses a two-round primary system. If a candidate receives above 50% of the vote in the first round, they become the party's nominee; otherwise, the top two finishers advance to a second round.


Their platform contains many progressive priorities, with the following overarching goals:[21]

  • Rebuild the economy through infrastructure and community investment.
  • Fix the healthcare mess with Medicare for All and increased access to medical services.
  • End mass incarceration by ending the War on Drugs and demilitarizing police.
  • Fight for families through fixing schools and family leave.
  • Clean up Washington D.C. by cutting taxes for middle and low income people and removing money from politics.
  • Reform our immigration system with employment verification systems and global legal immigration centers.
  • Stop fighting reckless wars and instead support economic development like with the Marshall Plan.
  • Address climate change through building a green economy and a 100% renewable energy system.

Summer for Progress[edit]

Several progressive organizations, including Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, Democratic Socialists of America, National Nurses United, Working Families Party, and Fight for 15, announced in July 2017 a push to encourage House Democrats to sign on to a #PeoplesPlatform, which consists of supporting "eight bills currently in the House of Representatives that will address the concerns of everyday Americans."[22] These eight bills and the topics they address are:

  1. Medicare for All: H.R. 676 Medicare For All Act[23]
  2. Free College Tuition: H.R. 1880 College for All Act of 2017[24]
  3. Worker Rights: H.R.15 - Raise the Wage Act [25]
  4. Women's Rights: H.R.771 - Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017 [26]
  5. Voting Rights: H.R. 2840 - Automatic Voter Registration Act[27]
  6. Environmental Justice: Climate Change Bill - TBD
  7. Criminal Justice and Immigrant Rights: H.R. 3227 - Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2017[28]
  8. Taxing Wall Street: H.R. 1144 - Inclusive Prosperity Act[29]

See also[edit]

  • Our Revolution – the official political action organization spun out of the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign
  • Justice Democrats – a PAC dedicated to replacing corporate-backed Democratic Congressional representatives


  1. ^ "Political Group 'Brand New Congress' Modeled After Bernie Sanders". YouTube. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  2. ^ Stein, Jeff (May 30, 2016). "The Bernie Congress: meet the insurgents trying to recreate Sanders's movement down ballot". Vox. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  3. ^ Mahler, Jonathan; Alcindor, Yamiche (May 22, 2016). "Bernie Sanders Makes a Campaign Mark. Now, Can He Make a Legacy?". Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  4. ^ Mahler, Jonathan; Corasaniti, Nick (May 5, 2016). "Bernie Sanders's Online Foot Soldiers Weigh Their Next Campaign". Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  5. ^ "Bernie Won't Get the Nomination. But His Online Army Isn't Done". Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  6. ^ "Brand New Congress: 535 progressive candidates, 1 ticket". April 26, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "FAQ". Brand New Congress. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  8. ^ "The Plan". Brand New Congress. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  9. ^ a b c d "What's next for Sanders backers? Replace the entire Congress". Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  10. ^ SCHMIDT, PETER. "What's Next For College Students Who Backed Bernie Sanders." Chronicle Of Higher Education 62.41 (2016): A13. Education Source. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
  11. ^ Sanders also announced his own organization to run progressive candidates, Our Revolution.[9]
  12. ^ "Still Feeling the Bern." CQ Magazine (July 25, 2016).
  13. ^ GUTTENPLAN, D. D. "The Future Of Bernie Sanders's Grassroots Army." Nation 302.25/26 (2016): 12. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
  14. ^ GUTTENPLAN, D. D. "Clean Sweep." Nation 303.9/10 (2016): 22-24. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
  15. ^ a b Lachman, Samantha (April 27, 2016). "Former Sanders Staffers Want To Elect A 'Brand New Congress'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  16. ^ SMITH, DALLAS, et al. "Letters." Nation 303.15 (2016): 2-34. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Oct. 2016.
  17. ^ "Brand New Congress". Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  18. ^ Tom McKay (January 23, 2017). "Cenk Uygur, Bernie Sanders staffers team up to take over the Democratic Party". Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  19. ^ "Brand New Congress Official Candidates".
  20. ^ Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-11-08
  21. ^ "Brand New Congress Official Platform".
  22. ^ "Summer for Progress Petition". Retrieved 23 July 2017.
  23. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (January 24, 2017). "H.R. 676 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act
  24. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (April 4, 2017). "H.R. 1880 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. College for All Act of 2017
  25. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (May 25, 2017). "H.R. 15 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. Raise the Wage Act
  26. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (January 31, 2017). "H.R. 771 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017
  27. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (June 8, 2017). "H.R. 2840 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. Automatic Voter Registration Act
  28. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (July 13, 2017). "H.R. 3227 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. To improve Federal sentencing and corrections practices, and for other purposes.
  29. ^ 115th Congress (2017) (February 16, 2017). "H.R. 1144 (115th)". Legislation. Retrieved July 23, 2017. Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2017

External links[edit]