Campa-Najjar Tacks Right, Nearly Loses Progressive Support - Voice of San Diego

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Campa-Najjar Tacks Right, Nearly Loses Progressive Support

The San Diego Progressive Democratic club this week nearly rescinded its endorsement of Ammar Campa-Najjar, the lone Democrat competing for the 50th District congressional seat.

Ammar Campa-Najjar is running for Congress. / Photo courtesy of NBC 7

This post originally appeared in the Feb. 15 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

The San Diego Progressive Democratic Club this week nearly rescinded its endorsement of Ammar Campa-Najjar, the lone Democrat competing for the 50th District congressional seat.

Group members accused Campa-Najjar of misrepresenting himself when he earlier sought their support because of a recent Union-Tribune editorial board interview in which Campa-Najjar appeared to water down some of his more progressive stances, saying he would not support Medicare for All and brushed off the Green New Deal, calling the nonbinding resolution “impractical.”

“We’ve had enough of the double talk,” said Katherine Hogue, the club’s president. “We don’t want to hear one thing one day and then hear another thing another day. No, we want someone who’s willing to stand up every single day fighting for this cause.”

In the 2018 election cycle, though, Campa-Najjar told Rolling Stone that he wanted to expand Medicare for people who are 50 to 64 years old as a buy-in option. On Tuesday night, he reminded the group he’s running in a largely conservative, rural district.

“You guys may have heard me called the most conservative congressman in San Diego County,” Campa-Najjar said. “The most conservative congressman in San Diego County is still the most progressive congressman in the 50th District’s history.”

That resonated with about half of the club’s voting members. An effort to rescind the earlier endorsement of Campa-Najjar failed to reach the 60 percent threshold.

He stood by the statements he made to the U-T, but apologized for not better informing the group “about what my strategy was going to be,” he said.

He also appeared flustered at times, urging the group to unite around him in the general, and pushed back against a progressive purity test that applies to all races equally.

“If you want perfection, that’s a cult, not a campaign,” he said.

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