Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.) is set to launch a political action committee that she says will support progressive challengers to incumbent House Democrats.
Pressley, who is serving in her first term after defeating a 20-year Democratic incumbent in a primary last fall, told WBUR her experience challenging an incumbent influenced her decision to start her own PAC, called the Power of Us PAC, citing the need for candidates who would "effectuate change in a deep, meaningful, sustainable way."
Justice Democrats, the progressive organization credited with helping Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) with her insurgent primary campaign, praised Pressley’s announcement.
"Primary challengers and ushering in a new generation of leaders strengthen the Democratic Party," the Justice Democrats account tweeted Tuesday morning. The organization had also supported and actively campaigned for Pressley in her primary campaign.
Pressley has emerged as a vocal critic of the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee’s incumbent-protection policy. DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.) rankled some progressive members of the House Democratic caucus when she announced earlier this year that the committee would blacklist any political vendors or consultants who sign up to work for candidates challenging incumbent Democrats.
"We cannot credibly lay claim to prioritizing diversity & inclusion when institutions like the DCCC implement policies that threaten to silence new voices and historically marginalized communities," Pressley tweeted in response to Bustos’s new policy.
Progressive members of the House Democratic caucus also challenged Bustos in a closed-door meeting this March over the committee’s new policy prohibiting vendors from working for primary challengers.
In her campaign last fall, Pressley positioned herself as a fresh face and contended that incumbent Congressman Michael Capuano had lost touch with the district, which had rapidly diversified since he had first been elected in 1998. Pressley would go on to defeat Capuano by nearly 20 points and was easily elected in November.
Pressley, who is one of fifty-four African Americans serving in Congress, said her new leadership PAC will also focus on increasing the diversity of staffers working on federal campaigns.
"I’m focused not just on who puts their name on the ballot, but again the people behind the people and diversifying that bench," Pressley said.
Pressley’s new PAC will be able to accept donations up to $5,000 from individuals, but in keeping with her campaign pledge, Pressley said the PAC will not accept any corporate contributions.