Here are the Most Progressive Candidates for Congress in California – 2020 Primary

This is the list of the most progressive candidates running for Congress in California. Unfortunately, many of the most progressive candidates are protest candidates, whose campaigns lack the resources to adequately challenge incumbents. Still, a vote for protest candidates sends a message that a well funded progressive could be viable in that district in future elections. In some cases, however, a non-viable progressive may take votes away from a viable but less progressive candidate, and lead to the victory of a conservative Democrat or a Republican. These races are noted below and we leave it up to progressive voters to decide whether to vote their conscience or vote strategically.

Please e-mail additions and corrections to Please note that this is a living document and therefore changes are made as we get more information.

CD 1 Audrey Denney

Audrey Denney is the best progressive choice. She is running a strong campaign against Trumpian Republican incumbent Doug LaMalfa.

CD 2 No recommendation

Democratic incumbent Jared Huffman has a good record on the environment, but he is not consistently progressive. Democrat Rachel Moniz and Green Party candidate Melissa Bradley are challenging him from the left. At this time, we don’t have a recommendation between these two protest candidates. This is a safe Democratic district.

CD 3 John Garamendi (i)

While incumbent Garamendi is not particular progressive, his only opponents are Republicans

CD 4 No recommendation

This district is currently represented by Republican Tom McClintock. There are several Republicans running against him as well as a single Democrat, Brynne S. Kennedy, a moderate. Also in the race is NPP candidate Robert Lawton, who has the most progressive platform. McClintock defeated his center-left Democratic opponent by 8 points in 2018.

CD 5 Jason Kishineff

Democratic incumbent Mike Thompson is a moderate. Progressive Berniecrat Kishineff is endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance. This is a safe Democratic district.

CD 6 Benjamin Emard

Most progressive candidate running against moderate Democratic incumbent Doris Matsui. This is a safe Democratic district.

CD 7 Jeff Burdick

Most progressive candidate running against right wing Democratic incumbent Ami Bera.

CD 8 Christine Bubser

Most progressive candidate in an open race.

CD 9 Jerry McNerney (i)

McNerney is a moderate Democratic incumbent facing only Republicans

CD 10 Josh Harder (i)

Democratic incumbent Josh Harder is center left, but he has the support of the progressives/Berniecrats in the district, as he has been willing to listen to and work with the progressive left. There are a couple of protest candidates running against him in the left, Democrats Mike Barkley and Ryan Blevins. This is a very purple district which Harder won from a Trumpian Republican in 2018, for this reason a strategic vote for Harder seems to be in order.

CD 11 Mark DeSaulnier (i)

Progressive Democratic incumbent.

CD 12 Shahid Buttar

Incumbent is Nancy Pelosi. Buttar is endorsed by the SF Berniecrats, California Progressive Alliance and more.

CD 13 Barbara Lee (i)

Progressive Democratic incumbent faces a Republican.

CD 14 No Current Recommendation

NPP Eric Taylor seems to be challenging center-left Democratic incumbent Jackie Spier from the left. However, at this point we don’t know enough about him to recommend him as a protest candidate. Safe Democratic district.

CD 15 Samantha Campbell

Campbell is the best choice of a protest candidate against moderate Democratic incumbent Eric Swalwell. Safe Democratic district.

CD 16 Kim Williams

The most progressive candidate challenging conservative Democrat incumbent Jim Costa. Safe Democratic district.

CD 17 Ro Khanna (i)

Incumbent Ro Khanna has been at the vanguard of sponsoring anti-war and progressive legislation.

CD 18 No Current Recommendation

Incumbent center-left Democrat Ana Eshoo is being challenged by center-left Democrat Rishi Kumar, a Tulsi Gabbard supporter. Safe Democratic district.

CD 19 Ivan Torres

Torres is protest challenging center/center-left Democratic incumbent Zoe Lofgren from the left. Safe Democratic district.

CD 20 Adam Scow

Progressive Scow is challenging moderate Democratic incumbent Jimmy Panetta. Scow is endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance, Santa Cruz for Bernie, the Sunrise Movement local chapter and other groups.

CD 21 TJ Cox (i)

While incumbent Democrat Cox is a moderate, all his opponents are Republicans or non-serious candidates. Cox won the district from a Republican incumbent in 2018.

CD 22 Dary Rezvani or Bobby Bliatout

Rezvani is the most progressive candidate running against Republican incumbent Devin Nunez. However, Rezvani doesn’t have a strong campaign, so many progressives are backing Bobby Bliatout as a lesser-but-still progressive and more viable alternative.

CD 23 Kim Mangone

Mangone is the only challenger to Trumpian Republican incumbent McCarthy.

CD 24 No Current Recommendation

Democratic incumbent Salud Carbajal is a moderate, but he does not face any challenges clearly to his left. Safe Democratic district.

CD 25 No  Recommendation

A plethora of Republican and Democratic candidates are running for Katie Hill’s recently vacated seat in this very, very purple district. The danger here is that the Democrats split the vote and two Republicans gain the top two positions in the open primary. We therefore suggest that voters think carefully as to whether they want to vote their conscience or more strategically.

The most progressive candidate running is Aníbal Valdéz-Ortega, however he is extremely unlikely to make it to the top-two. Cenk Uygur has greater name recognition and money and therefore has a greater chance, but his history of misogynist comments an attitude make it difficult for us to recommend him. The Democratic establishment has put their support behind moderate Christy Smith, as the most likely candidate to keep the seat,  but she is a moderate with animosity against the Bernie movement. In addition, she got an “F” grade from the Courage Campaign, showing her animosity towards progressive legislation.

CD 26 No Recommendation

Incumbent Democrat Julia Brownley is a moderate, but she does not face serious opposition from the left. This is a purple district.

CD 27 No Recommendation

Incumbent moderate Democrat Judy Chu does not face opposition from the left. Safe Democratic district.

CD 28 G. “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo

Progressive drag queen Maebe A. Girl is running an insurgent campaign against the stalwart of the Military-Industrial Complex Adam Schiff. Safe Democratic district.

CD 29 Angelica Duenas

Former Bernie delegate and progressive activist Angelica Duenas is challenging moderate Democratic incumbent Tony Cardenas. Endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance. Safe Democratic district.

CD 30 Courtney “CJ” Berina

Berina is the most progressive candidate challenging moderate incumbent Democrat Brad Sherman. Endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance. Safe Democratic district.

CD 31 Write In “None of the Above”

Incumbent Democrat Peter Aguilar is a right wing endorser of Bloomberg, but his only opponent is a Republican. This mean they will both make it to the general.

CD 32 No current recommendation

Incumbent Democrat Grace Napolitano is a moderate. There are two Democrats challenging her whom we still have to research.

CD 33 No current recommendation

Incumbent Democrat Ted Lieu has a couple of challengers that we need to research.

CD 34 Frances Motiwalla

Progressive challenger to moderate Democratic incumbent Jimmy Gomez Safe Democratic district.

CD 35 No Recommendation

Moderate Democratic incumbent Norma Torres is challenged only by a Republican.

CD 36 No recommendation

Center-right Democratic incumbent Raul Ruiz is challenged only by Republicans

CD 37 Karen Bass (i)

Progressive Democratic incumbent.

CD 38 No current recommendation

Progressive protest candidate Michael Tolar is challenging moderate Democratic incumbent Linda Sanchez. We don’t know enough about the district or Tolar to currently offer a recommendation.

CA 39 Steve Cox

Progressive independent Cox is challenging Democratic incumbent Gil Cisneros. There is only one Republican in the race. While this was a red district until Cisneros won it in 2018, there is only one Republican in the race so a protest vote for Cox in the primary won’t help Republicans win back the seat.

CD 40 Rodolfo Cortes Barragan

Green party candidate Cortes Barragan is challenging center-left Democratic incumbent Lucille Roybal-Allard. He’s endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance. Safe Democratic District

CD 41 No recommendation

Democratic incumbent Mark Takano is center-left. His Democratic challenger Grace Williams seems to have similar politics.

CD 42 William “Liam” O’Mara

O’Mara is the most progressive candidate running against Republican incumbent Ken Calvert. He has been endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance. This is a safe Republican district.

CD 43 Maxine Waters (i)

Progressive Democratic incumbent running against two Republicans.

CD 44 Nanette Diaz Barragan (i)

While Barragan has moved towards the establishment since being elected, all her challengers are problematic and not progressive.

CD 45 Katie Porter (i)

Democratic incumbent Porter is only challenged by Republicans. This is a purple district.

CD 46 Pablo Mendiolea

Progressive Mediolea is challenging center-right Democratic incumbent Lou Correa. He has been endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance.

CD 47 Peter Matthew

Matthew is the most progressive candidate challenging incumbent moderate Democrat Alan Lowenthal. He has been endorsed by the California Progressive Alliance.

CD 48 No Recommendation

Incumbent Democrat Harley Rouda is only facing right-wing candidates in the district he won from a Republican in 2018. Rouda was one of the Democrats whom Bloomberg bragged of having “bought” at the last debate. As expected, Rouda endorsed billionaire Michael Bloomberg, a right wing, sexist, racist, candidate with a history of human rights violations, islamophobia and sexual abuse – who is, for all intents and purposes, as bad, if not worse, than Trump. We cannot recommend that you vote for him in the primary.

CD 49 Mike Levin (i)

Incumbent moderate Democrat Levin is only facing right-wing candidates in a purple district.

CD 50 No Current Recommendation

This is a deeply red district, represented until recently by convicted Republican congressman Duncan Hunter, who last won the district by 10-points (post indictment). Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar is once again running for this seat, but has made a sharp turn to the right, which means we can no longer recommend him. More progressive Democrat Marisa Calderon has suspended her campaign. This leaves Peace and Freedom candidate Jose Cortes as the only progressive in the election, but he has no chance to make it to the top-ten. A vote for Campa-Najjar is thus the best choice for those who want to put a Democrat in the seat.

CD 51 Write In “None of the Above”

Right of center Democratic incumbent Juan C. Vargas (i) is running against a Republican. Vargas endorsed Bloomberg and his right wing, racist agenda, and we can therefore not recommend voting for him.

CD 52 Nancy Casady

Green new deal candidate Casady is running against right-wing Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, a Bloomberg supporter.

CD 53 Jose Caballero or Georgette Gómez

A plethora of Democrats are running for this open seat. Of these, former Bernie delegate Jose Caballero is the most uncompromising progressive. However, he is running a weak campaign and his chances of placing in the top-two are very low. Progressive San Diego Councilwoman was thus recruited by some Berniecrats to run for the seat, as the best able to face multi-millionaire wannabe oligarch Sara Jacobs, who seems intent on buying the election.

Also vote for:

Progressive candidates for the CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE

Progressive candidates for your county’s DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE

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