COMMON DEFENSE Endorses 5 Candidates for Congress


NEW YORK – Common Defense, a grassroots organization of progressive veterans and military families representing 150,000 members, announced on Tuesday its first endorsements of candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. Those candidates are:

Jess King (PA-16)

Jared Golden (ME-02)

Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23)

Fayrouz Saad (MI-11)

Greg Edwards (PA-15)

These first 5 endorsements come in the wake of an open letter, signed by 80 Common Defense military veteran leaders last week, expressing a vision of how to build a broad political coalition capable of defeating Donald Trump and his enablers in Congress. In keeping with those ideas, Common Defense will be endorsing the candidates who we believe are most likely to capture the grassroots energy of this political moment, who provide a strong challenge to Trumpism, and who we can trust to champion a policy agenda of economic, social, and global justice.

Common Defense is distinct from other veteran political organizations in that we endorse and support candidates who reflect the progressive values of our 150,000+ members, regardless of whether the candidate served in the military themselves.

Common Defense is a grassroots organization. Because of this, our work in 2018 will focus on organizing and training veterans and military families in these districts to challenge incumbent Republicans. We want the whole country to know that the military community is not a political prop to be exploited, and that we don’t endorse an agenda of greed and hate.


The Candidates:

Jess King (16th District of Pennsylvania)

Jess King is a charismatic working mom who has inspired a tidal wave of grassroots support in the small Pennsylvania city of Lancaster and it’s community of small businesses and rural working class voters, including the endorsement by the grassroots organization Lancaster Stands Up. Her field organizing-driven campaign and record-breaking fundraising have demonstrated that her strong progressive populist platform resonates in this community, and that therefore she is the only candidate who can flip this tough, “majority-maker” district by defeating GOP incumbent Lloyd Smucker. She is facing Christina Hartman, the previous candidate who underperformed Hillary Clinton in the district in 2016 by thousands of votes, in the Democratic primary on May 15th.

Jared Golden (2nd District of Maine)

Jared Golden is a Marine Corps veteran who served as an enlisted infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan, and who currently serves as the Assistant Majority Leader in the Maine state legislature, representing the working class city of Lewiston. His campaign, vowing to fix the rigged economic system, will resonate strongly in the rural and working class communities and help defeat GOP incumbent Bruce Poliquin in this tipping-point “majority-maker” district.

Gina Ortiz Jones (23rd District of Texas)

Gina Ortiz Jones is a fearless progressive, a child of immigrants, and a former Air Force Intelligence Officer who served as a lesbian during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Otiz Jones has constructed an impressive campaign, and is best positioned to energize the grassroots base and defeat GOP incumbent Will Hurd in this hispanic-majority swing district that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. She is facing Blue Dog Coalition-endorsed federal prosecutor Jay Hulings in a primary on March 6th.

Fayrouz Saad (11th District of Michigan)

Fayrouz Saad would be the first Muslim woman ever elected to Congress, and brings a wealth of experience as a community organizer, Detroit city official, and Obama appointee to the Department of Homeland Security. Her strongly progressive platform, compelling personal story, and deep roots in the local community make her the best candidate to win this “majority-maker” open seat left behind by GOP Rep. Dave Trott. She faces off against manufacturing executive Haley Stevens in a primary on August 7th.

Greg Edwards (15th District of Pennsylvania)

Greg Edwards, a well-known pastor from Allentown whose nonprofit has done extensive work on behalf of disadvantaged urban neighborhoods, is a charismatic candidate whose campaign has built up incredible support among communities of color. He is a powerful progressive challenger for this “majority-maker” open seat left behind by GOP Rep. Charlie Dent.


Common Defense is a diverse, grassroots organization of U.S. veterans and military family members who are fighting to preserve the core values we swore to uphold and defend. Together we vow to protect our communities from hate and violence, to serve on the front lines for social, economic, and global justice, and to champion a truly equitable and representative democracy.