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Raskin earns nod from congressional progressives

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- 2/23/11 -- md-same-sex-wed-p1-davis -- Sen. Jamie Raskin, left, answers a question from Sen. C. Anthony Muse, right, during a discussion of an amendment allowing religious groups to opt out of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Act, allowing same sex marriages. Amy Davis [Baltimore Sun Staff] #4376 ORG XMIT: BAL1102231157433750
ANNAPOLIS, MD -- 2/23/11 -- md-same-sex-wed-p1-davis -- Sen. Jamie Raskin, left, answers a question from Sen. C. Anthony Muse, right, during a discussion of an amendment allowing religious groups to opt out of the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Act, allowing same sex marriages. Amy Davis [Baltimore Sun Staff] #4376 ORG XMIT: BAL1102231157433750 (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

State Sen. Jamie Raskin picked up the endorsement Monday of the political arm of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in his bid for a House seat -- an important stamp of approval in race where most of the Democratic candidates are claiming the mantle of progressive politics.

Raskin, of Montgomery County, is running for the 8th Congressional District seat that will be left open next year by Rep. Chris Van Hollen's decision to run for Senate. He faces a crowded field, including two other elected officials and a well-known former television journalist.

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Progressive Action PAC is the political arm of the 72-member Congressional Progressive Caucus. The group includes some of the most left-leaning members of Congress, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Reps. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Baltimore is one of the group's members.

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"Jamie is a passionate progressive, has a proven record of legislative accomplishment, and has put together an impressive grassroots campaign that engages in serious policy discussion about the critical issues of our time," Grijalva said in a statement.

The three most visible candidates in the race -- Raskin, former WJLA anchor and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews and Del. Kumar Barve -- have all touted their progressive backgrounds. The district reliably votes Democrat in the general election.

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