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‘Democrats as a whole are not socialists’: Vulnerable Dems seek distance for 2020

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15.03.2019

Two House freshmen, Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood (left) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Va.), both dismissed concerns that their more vocal Democratic colleagues will complicated their reelection chances. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

Elections

The most endangered House Democrats in next year's election are wary of their more outspoken, liberal colleagues.

By LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ

03/15/2019 05:00 AM EDT

The moderate Democrats who delivered the House majority want you to know they’re not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar.

They haven’t all blindly signed on to the "Green New Deal." They haven't been widely accused of anti-Semitism. They aren't hungry to impeach President Donald Trump.

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They are the ones on the front lines of the battlefield, defending Democrats’ House majority. And many of the endangered Democrats already see their outspoken colleagues as a potential obstacle standing between them and reelection in 2020.

“As we run up to this presidential [election], we need to show that Democrats, as a whole, are not socialists," said Rep. Katie Hill, who last November flipped a Southern California district that Republicans held for the previous quarter-century. "We’re not pushing for impeachment without serious cause and serious evidence."

With the progressive squad of Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) capturing most of the headlines, the vulnerable Democrats are left to respond in stronger and stronger terms. The four liberals have forced majority-makers like Hill to distinguish themselves with voters and donors early and often.

“You have these four members frankly that were elected from seats that are going to be Democratic no matter what and represent a very small fraction of the party as a whole,” said Hill. “And it’s like they’re the only ones that exist.”

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And as the presidential election nears, Hill and her fellow at-risk Democrats will need all the attention they can get. Republicans must win 18 seats to take back the House, and they have ample targets. Republicans are setting their sights on the 31 Democratically held districts that voted for Trump in........

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