A number of newly elected progressives from across the country are poised to join the “Squad” of left-wing champions in the U.S. House following Tuesday’s midterm elections, with Reps.-elect Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Maxwell Frost of Florida, and others crediting their working people-focused campaigns for their victories.
Voters “care about how much their basic needs cost,” Lee told WESA in Pittsburgh after winning in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. “Their groceries and their gas bills. They care about a living wage. These are things that truly connect us. And I believe that’s actually what makes progressives and our progressive messaging resonate.”
Lee faced attacks from the United Democracy Project, a well-funded, anti-Palestinian rights super PAC founded by AIPAC, which spent more than $1 million campaigning against the state House member. The group had also poured money into ads targeting Lee during the Democratic primary earlier this year.
“Almost one-quarter” of the $17 million AIPAC spent during the midterm elections “was wasted trying to defeat Summer Lee,” tweeted journalist Akela Lacy of The Intercept.
Lee focused her campaign on her support for Medicare for All, protecting reproductive rights, and other economic justice issues, as did Frost in Florida’s 10th District.
Frost, who is 25, will be the first member of Generation Z to join Congress, and says he began his political organizing career after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. He survived gun violence three years later and served as national organizing director for March for Our Lives, the group started by survivors of the 2018 Parkland, Florida school shooting.
I am Congressman-Elect Maxwell Alejandro Frost and I will be the first member of Generation-Z in the United States Congress.
WE MADE HISTORY!!! Don’t count young people out. pic.twitter.com/Nd3vr5iPT0
— Maxwell Alejandro Frost (@MaxwellFrostFL) November 9, 2022
“Just a few months ago, the leading cause of death for children went from automobile accidents to gun violence,” Frost told CNN on Tuesday night, adding that the broadly popular proposal of universal background checks for gun purchases is “something that we need to pass.”
We WON in Texas on a progressive, unapologetic platform of economic justice and civil rights. Now, we’re taking our movement to Congress.
Together, we are proof that the progressive movement is ALIVE and GROWING in our state!
— Greg Casar (@GregCasar) November 9, 2022
Lee’s and Casar’s victories were the 11th and 12th by candidates endorsed by the Justice Democrats, which recruits progressives to primary establishment Democrats and which one anonymous party leader dismissed as a group of “nerds” without the ability to defeat longtime House members just three years ago.
The group has also supported the candidacies of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Pramila Jayapal D-Wash., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and other influential progressives in recent years.