Who thought Bernie Sanders' failed presidential campaign would spawn an ambitious group with plans to capture Congress in the 2018 elections?
But it did.
After Hillary Clinton blew past Sanders in the 2016 race for the Democratic presidential nomination, some volunteers from the Sanders camp created a political organization called Brand New Congress, or BNC.
BNC hopes to field 400 candidates for congressional offices next year. Party affiliation doesn't matter, but candidates are expected to embrace BNC goals, which include fixing health care, ending mass incarceration and "cleaning up Washington D.C."
So far, BNC has attracted 11 candidates from eight states. There are nine Democrats, a Republican and an Independent Republican in the field. The Independent Republican is Danny Ellyson of Warner Robins.
Ellyson plans to challenge U.S. Representative Austin Scott for Georgia's 8th District congressional seat in next year's Republican primary.
Scott hasn't announced his future political plans. But he's expected to seek re-election. He's held the 8th District seat since January 2011.
Ellyson declined comment about his candidacy until he receives what he called "an official media request." He said the request would be screened by "the committee" and the committee would schedule an appointment.
But in his biographical information, Ellyson described himself as an Army veteran who was born in Warner Robins and adopted at birth by a military family. He's openly gay and operates a business, Daddy's Lawn Care Service, with his husband, Nate.
The BNC platform has eight goals. They are:
(1) Rebuild the economy through infrastructure and community investment.
(2) Fix healthcare with Medicare for all and increased access to medical services.
(3) End mass incarceration by ending the war on drugs and demilitarizing police.
(4) Fight for families through fixing schools and family leave.
(5) Cut taxes for middle and low income people and remove money from politics.
(6) Reform immigration with employment verification and global immigration centers.
(7) Stop fighting reckless wars yet support economic development like the Marshall Plan.
(8) Address climate change through building a green economy and 100 % renewable energy plan.
In an internet post seeking support, Ellyson wrote, "Throughout my military and private sector career, I've gotten to know individuals in many counties across Georgia and see firsthand their opportunities, as well as their lack of them. Here in the 8th District - and throughout our state - we see tremendous wealth and growth, but far too little of it finds its way to ordinary, hard-working citizens. Now I'm on a mission to create a Brand New Congress that will change that."
After the 2010 Census, Georgia's 8th congressional district has voted overwhelmingly Republican. While Scott's faced Republican primary opposition, he's defeated his GOP opponents and won re-election easily each time.
It'll be interesting to see how Ellyson and the Brand New Congress movement fares next year in the 8th District contest. But previous outcomes indicate Scott's in the driver's seat and the road isn't bumpy.
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