The Top 12 Berniecrats Running in 2016

These are exciting times for progressives who feel the Bern. Many are experiencing the insatiable appetite of enthusiasm driving them to spread the message promoted by Bernie Sanders in any way they can. If you are such a person, the following is a veritable buffet.

Below are the 12 most thoroughly progressive and most passionate ‘Berniecrats’ running for federal office in 2016. All have elections upcoming and all have a chance to win. They are the cream of the crop. For those looking to direct the Bern, this is the list you are going to want to read.


Tulsi-Gabbard-BerniecratsbWhen Tulsi Gabbard, in order to support Bernie Sanders in his bid for President, resigned as vice-chair of the DNC (despite ‘warnings’) it was a full display of her unique courage, integrity, and dedication.  Of course, these characteristics have become well associated with Gabbard. At 21, she became the youngest State Representative in Hawaii’s history and the youngest female State Rep. in the country. Shortly thereafter, channeling her inner Teddy Roosevelt, she postponed a promising political career to voluntarily serve in active military duty. After two tours of the Middle East, she returned and became the first American-Samoan, first Hindu, and first female combat veteran elected to Congress. Now, at 35, she is an emerging leadership figure within the Democratic Party. She is a rocket ship.


Keith-Ellison-BerniecratsbIn 2007, Keith Ellison became America’s first Muslim member of Congress (he was sworn in on Thomas Jefferson’s Quran). He is the current co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which was founded by Bernie Sanders in 1991 and has become “more effective than ever” under Ellison.  At 52, he is the progressive leadership of today and tomorrow.


Zephyr-Teachout-BerniecratsbIs Zephyr Teachout the next Elizabeth Warren? As a law professor and nationally recognized expert on political corruption, (her book ‘Corruption in America’ was critically acclaimed) she very well might be. And as the daughter of a lawyer and a judge, and a graduate of Yale and Duke, she is well-educated and well-prepared. As we try to save a political system wallowing in the muck of avarice, progressives can be glad Zephyr Teachout is on our side.


Peter-Welch-BerniecratsbA hero in the struggle between rectitude and machine politics.

Peter Welch and Bernie Sanders have been “friends for years”, often taking the same flight from their home state of Vermont to Washington, D.C. and splitting a cab. It should come then as no surprise that Welch endorsed him for President, following the will of the overwhelming majority of Vermonters who voted Sanders in the Democratic primary. What is curious is that he was the only representative from Vermont to do so. Others, it appears, were previously obliged. It seems that when challenged to bend to the will of the Democratic Party narrative, Peter Welch chose to support his friend and, more importantly, to represent his constituents.
Lucy-Flores-BerniecratsbA story of what politics should be about: Growing up in Nevada in what she described as a “challenging environment,” Lucy Flores, like many others, “fell through the cracks” and dropped out of high school. Through hard work and perseverance she got her GED, then a college degree, and finally a law degree. Now she is running for Congress in the district she grew up in. At 36, Lucy Flores is a progressive champion, a national voice on inequality, and a politician running to change the conditions of those whose circumstances she has experienced first-hand.


Tim-Canova-BerniecratsbAs the primary opponent of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Tim Canova is far from a protest candidate or just a pretty face. He is a lawyer and professor and has been a nationally recognized voice on financial issues since the 1980’s. He has both the clout to have been named to a Federal Reserve advisory council alongside Robert Reich and Joseph Stiglitz, and the progressive chops to have taught impromptu classes at Occupy. Make no mistake, Tim Canova is not merely trying to shine a light on the perceived corruption of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. He wants to get rid of it — and her.
Pramila-Jayapal-BerniecratsbPramila Jayapal came to America at 16 years of age, leaving her family in India and setting out on her own to attend Georgetown University. Let us pause to allow the full depth of that statement to sink in. For progressives, the story only gets better from there. After experiencing the depths of Wall Street from within, Jayapal decided to devote her exceptional talents to activism, founding OneAmerica and becoming one of the leading grassroots organizers in the country. She is truly a candidate from the grassroots for the grassroots.


13236312_10100201951684697_1544402610_nbIt should really come as little surprise that Tom Fiegen has a law degree and a Masters in economics, a history of activism with the National Farm Organization and Farm Aid, and an area of expertise in farm, small business, and bankruptcy law. The child of farm activists, he was initiated into the struggle as a young man in a deeply personal way when the bank tried to take the family farm he had grown up on. Now he takes his unique understanding of the plight of Iowans into a daunting Senate race against a long-time Republican incumbent. Of course, Fiegen did defeat a long-time Republican incumbent 16 years ago to become an Iowa State Representative. A progressive Senator in Iowa? This just might be the progressive who gets it done.
Bao-Nguyen-BerniecratsbIt is interesting and perhaps indicative to note that the fact that Bao Nguyen is gay is taken as somewhat of a side-note in his incredible story. He was born in a United Nations refugee camp and came to the United States at 3 months old. At 34, he became America’s first Vietnamese mayor. Now, with momentum and a consequential endorsement from the national nurses union, Nguyen is more than just a feel-good story. His story may, in fact, be that of the next member of Congress from California’s 46th.


Preston-Picus-BerniecratsbPreston Picus is the ‘Progressive Independent’ running against Nancy Pelosi who wants to “get in a fight with corruption.” The tools he would bring to said fight are formidable indeed. He is a Columbia graduate who “left a full-time career in marketing to become a full-time public servant,” and the author of a book on political corruption called ‘Send Our Reps To Rehab.”  Additionally, he has shown his commitment to positively impacting the next generation through his work as a teacher and coach. At a time when approval ratings for Congress are at a historic low, perhaps establishment figureheads like Nancy Pelosi are not quite the impregnable incumbents they may have been thought to be. If there is to be a fight with corruption, Preston Picus wants northern California to be a battleground.
Kevin-Stine-BerniecratsbIt may appear to be an uphill climb, trying to unseat a 20 year incumbent Senator. But uphill climbs are something familiar to Kevin Stine. As a young man, he joined the Navy in order to, in his words, “break the cycle of poverty my family had been in,” eventually serving three tours. Current Senator Ron Wyden, 67, himself knows a thing or two about the possibility of long shot political campaigns. He was 31, just one year older than Stine is now, when he defeated a much older incumbent to become a member of Congress for the first time. This may be an election of transformation, where Americans begin to vote out politicians who are perceived to have “put corporate interests over (public) interests.” If so, then Kevin Stine is a man to watch.
Alex-Law-BerniecratsbIf the Democratic Party is to exist into the future, what will it look like? Perhaps we can see the answer in Alex Law, a self-described “4th generation Democrat.” The youngest Congressional candidate in the country at 24 — a fact he advertises proudly — Law offers a window into the future of progressive thought. He is a progressive fantasy’s Frankenstein monster, an amalgamation of all the ideas progressives hold dear. If the most connected generation is to become the most progressive, look for Alex Law to be at the forefront.


conclusion3bIf you believe Bernie Sanders can still be President of the United States, these are the allies he will need in government. Even without winning the White House, they are the type of colleagues who could help a Senator Bernie Sanders further the progressive agenda. And should the day ever come for the creation of a third, more progressive, party, then much of the leadership structure will likely come from the list above.

Fundamental change is coming to America, and it is for us to decide whether it is a political revolution or social disintegration. Now is the time to promote a progressive agenda, to support, donate to, and volunteer for Berniecrats. It is the time to strike while the iron is Berning.

Written by Nigel Clarke

Writer and notorious vagabond. From the frozen north. Follow Nigel on Twitter @Nig_Clarke.

Nigel Clarke is a Writer for Progressive Army.


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    • It looks to me like you’re overreacting on her statement. All she did was condemn the mysoginistic name calling (c*** and b****), the vandalism of property, and the threats. She didn’t even say anything about how the people at the convention acted.

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  2. At the state legislature level, Peter Noris is a committed Berniecrat in NC. And even though his primary ended unsuccessfully, look for good things from PA’s John Fetterman

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  4. Please remove Alex Law from this list and replace him with Peter Jacob, Jim Keady, Richard McFarlane, or Lorna Phillipson, all of whom are real Berniecrats. Alex Law proved that he was a fraud, opportunistically running on Bernie’s coattails and message, when he did a behind-the-scenes procedural manuever that would have cost Bernie tens of thousands of votes and numerous delegates if he had been successful.

  5. Yeah, I don’t know about this Alex Law endorsement. Being a 4th-generation Democrat is really nothing to brag about. That’s about as long as the Democratic Party has been on the skids. There are two thoughts on what “Progressive” means, one espoused by Clinton supporters and another by Bernie supporters. I get the feeling that this guy is a Clinton-Progressive. As far as Alan Grayson is concerned, yeah, I was going to agree with the person who mentioned him until I read this: “Feb 11, 2016 … Documents show how Mr. Grayson’s work as a hedge fund manager at times interfered with his other duties as a U.S. lawmaker.
    Jun 30, 2015 … Alan Grayson manages hedge funds that use his name in their title, a practice prohibited by congressional ethics rules.”

  6. You left out Dr. David Gill who is running as an Independent for Congress in Illinois 13th District.
    We are faced with getting 11,000 signatures by June 27th just to get on the ballot. By not running as Democrats, we are free to be very Progressive, not take Corporate money and not take orders from the machine. Hence, we sleep very well at night. Come help us get signatures for a true Berniecrat team! DavidGill2016.com

  7. Assuming some are elected–it will require attention from everyone to be sure they stay progressive! Once “in” the democratic party, folks quickly move to the pragmatic right. Forget any ideals. But keep their feet to the fire, threaten to boycott their supporters if needed, run against them if necessary.

    You are only as progressive as your last vote…ask Hillary, ask Barack…

  8. I would like to know why Ohio “Keith Mundy” is not on this list? He helped set up Bernie’s Ohio network, and is supporting Bernie while trying to run as a Progressive Democrat in Ohio 16th District? He’s also in need of help, either money, phone banking, or door to door. He is up against a very rich Republican in a very jurymandered district here in Ohio! Get the word out to our Berniecrat network! If Keith can win I will try in 2018 to add another Progressive (Myself) and displace another selfserving Polititician. Keith is also a Bernie delegate.

  9. I think you might have a typo with Alex Law. I haven’t checked for what office he is running, but given his age it has to be the House, not the US Senate (which requires that he be 30 years old).

  10. Please add Misty Snow running against Mike Lee in Utah!!! Or perhaps write about her! She needs all the help and exposure she can get. A working class 31 year old with resolve like noone other than Bernie, up against a guy that jas deep pockets and has proven his years in the Senate should have happened in the 50’s. Thank you!!

  11. Please vote straight Democratic all up and down the ballot, wherever you live. It is the only way we can break the stranglehold of the Republican Party on our government. We need Impartial Redistricting to combat the gerrymandering which makes it almost impossible for Democrats to be elected in some states. We need to make voting easier, not harder, and we need to get Big Money out of politics. None of these things will happen with Republicans in control.

  12. These are highlights of the top 12, for a complete list for your state go here.
    This is what I am using for our current WA election on Aug 2. It is what I will reference going forward for every election for as long as neccessary to fill the government with real progressives. If you’re not on the list, you don’t get my vote.


  13. I’d really like to see Arn Menconi added to this list for Colorado. He’s running on the Green Party ticket for senate and has a great vision for our state. He’s been a strong Berniecrat and is contributing widely to political discussion in our community! Please support him!

  14. Their is no hope in my MS district. Trent Kelly will most likely be elected to the House in November. No one checks hi d voting records and the lies about his support of veterans. He only supports them with words.

    Cochran’s seat in the Senate is up in 2018, I believe. Wish a real progressive would run against him. MS politics needs more progressives to run in this state. Republicans are stifling education, human rights, continually inserting religion into laws and government, and a state legislature and governor that thinks a “Confederate Hertitage” month is a necessity. States like MS need help to get these regressive people out of the government. They are killing the states and it’s people.

  15. I’d like to add Nanette Barragán to the list of progressive candidates running for the House, in Congressional District 44. She wants to replace Janice Hahn. She’s been endorsed by the L.A. Times as the best person to replace Hahn. She has many other key endorsements as well.

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    I don’t realize who you might be but definitely you are going to a well-known blogger if you happen to are not already.

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The Top 12 Berniecrats Running in 2016