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U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Endorse a Record 30 House Democrats

Voting booths at a voting center at the Placerville Town Hall in Placerville, Calif., March 3, 2020 (Gabriela Bhaskar/Reuters)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has finalized plans to endorse 30 House Democrats, raising tensions among members of the right-leaning organization, according to a new report. 

While the Chamber has spent over $100 million backing Republican candidates in the past decade, it is set to endorse nearly two dozen freshmen Democrats this election, its largest number of Democratic endorsements at one time ever, Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported.

Some of the group’s donors have threatened to pull funding and it has been suggested that Chamber board members will quit in the coming weeks, Politico reported last week.

Members have argued that Democrats have supported policies that hurt corporations, including a $15 federal minimum wage. 

Thomas Wilson, chairman of the Chamber’s executive committee, said in a statement that “the Chamber’s board has actively and successfully supported more bipartisanship in Washington since 2016 so we can create jobs and economic prosperity,” adding that “our priorities cut across party lines.”

“We are excited about the positive impact our enhanced endorsement criteria is having on creating better solutions for America,” Wilson said.

The group will also endorse 29 House freshmen Republicans, according to The Hill

Though the Chamber regularly endorses a few House Democrats each year, this is the first time the group has endorsed so many at once.

Still, many supported the endorsements: The committee voted 75 percent in support of the full set of recommended freshmen for political endorsements, The Hill reported. Even for the approved freshmen who received the most votes against them, the committee voted by almost five to one to endorse them. 

In order to endorse candidates the Chamber uses a formula to score each politician based on how their voting record matches its priorities. A lawmaker must receive a score of at least 70 percent to earn an endorsement. 

Twenty-three House freshmen received over 70 percent on their score cards, The Hill reported, including Democratic Representatives Joe Cunningham (S.C.), Abigail Spanberger (Va.), Sharice Davids (Kan.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Kendra Horn (Okla.), Colin Allred (Texas), Andy Kim (N.J.), Antonio Delgado (N.Y.), and Abby Finkenauer (Iowa).

But some members had questioned how the Chamber is making its calculations, accusing Chamber management of manipulating numbers to score Democrats above 70 percent. 

According to The Hill, the group is expected to also endorse Democratic Representatives Elaine Luria (Va.), Lizzie Fletcher (Texas), Haley Stevens (Mich.), David Trone (Md.), Cindy Axne (Iowa), Angie Craig (Minn.), Dean Phillips (Minn.), Greg Stanton (Ariz.), Josh Harder (Calif.), TJ Cox (Calif.), Harley Rouda (Calif.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Ben McAdams (Utah) and Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.).

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