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Nat'l progressive groups back Raskin, Peña-Melnyk

(Staff photo by Nicole Martyn) Democratic candidates in the District 21 state delegate race gathered to watch the returns at The Greene Turtle in Laurel after the polls closed for the primary elections Tuesday September 14, 2010. Here, candidate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (center) celebrates early returns. At left is Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee District 21 candidate Sandy Hines and at right is Pena-Melnyk campaign volunteer Tammy Nin of Edison, New Jersey processed by IntelliTune on 14092010 224931 with script Transport
(Staff photo by Nicole Martyn) Democratic candidates in the District 21 state delegate race gathered to watch the returns at The Greene Turtle in Laurel after the polls closed for the primary elections Tuesday September 14, 2010. Here, candidate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (center) celebrates early returns. At left is Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee District 21 candidate Sandy Hines and at right is Pena-Melnyk campaign volunteer Tammy Nin of Edison, New Jersey processed by IntelliTune on 14092010 224931 with script Transport (Nicole Martyn / Patuxent Publishing)

State Sen. Jamie Raskin and Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk picked up the endorsement Monday of a pair of national progressive groups in their bids for Congress.

Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which represent the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, made the endorsements in separate emails to supporters on Monday, frequently comparing the two to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Peña-Melnyk is running for the Democratic nomination in the 4th District, the seat currently held by Rep. Donna Edwards. Raskin is running in the 8th District, held by Rep. Chris Van Hollen. Edwards and Van Hollen are both running for Senate this year.

"They are proven progressive champs in their home states who are campaigning on big ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, a $15 minimum wage," PCCC wrote of the House candidates in its email.

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It's not clear that there is any significant policy difference on federal issues among the Democrats running for the state's two open House seats. The PCCC email states that "Jamie's current opponent is a corporate executive," in an apparent reference to former Marriott official and television anchor Kathleen Matthews.

In fact, there are two other state lawmakers seeking the seat (Dels. Kumar Barve and Ana Sol Gutierrez), a former Obama administration official (William Jawando) and a Johns Hopkins University adjunct professor (David M. Anderson).

The two groups also were engaged in the Maryland Senate race, urging Edwards to run.

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