The House Is Getting a Bunch of New Progressives

Winners include the youngest person ever elected to the chamber and a Pennsylvania candidate who was heavily targeted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Maxwell Frost, a Democratic candidate for Florida's 10th Congressional district, participates in the Pride Parade in Orlando, Florida, on October 15, 2022.(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

The House of Representatives was shockingly too close to call Wednesday, as an expected GOP “red wave” never materialized outside of Florida

But one thing is for sure: A number of outspoken progressives were officially elected to the House Tuesday, growing the ranks of the Democratic Party’s left flank—including the informal group of House lawmakers known as the Squad—even as control of the House itself continues to unexpectedly hang in the balance.


Florida gun violence activist Maxwell Frost became the first member of Gen Z elected to Congress, Democratic Socialists of America member Greg Casar won election in an Austin-area seat, and a trio of left-wing state representatives—Delia Ramirez in Illinois, Jasmine Crockett in Texas, and Summer Lee in Pennsylvania—were easily elected to safe Democratic seats after winning contentious primaries earlier this year.

All these candidates were endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, perhaps the two most visible progressive politicians in the country—suggesting they’ll be allies of the left as Democrats navigate the next Congress. 

Frost, 25, won election Tuesday to succeed Rep. Val Demings in an Orlando-based district, after Demings gave up her seat to run for U.S. Senate in Florida. (Demings lost by double-digits to Sen. Marco Rubio Tuesday.) Frost is a backer of Medicare for All and the Green New Deal who defeated a crowded primary field that included multiple state legislators and former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson. 

“We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future,” Frost tweeted Tuesday night. 

Frost has said school shootings motivated him to get involved in politics, and he worked as the national organizing director for March for Our Lives. “I started Organizing at [the age of] 15 because I didn’t want to get shot at school,” he said in a tweet last week


Joining Frost will be Casar, a member of the Austin City Council for the past eight years. Casar championed paid leave in Austin, though the ordinance never took effect as the state Supreme Court said it violated the state’s ban on local minimum wage laws. He also led an effort to reduce the Austin Police Department budget by one-third, and has promised to prioritize housing affordability when he enters Congress next year. 

Casar has been a member of the Austin chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, though the group withdrew its endorsement of his congressional run at his request over Casar’s opposition to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Lee also won her closely-watched race for an open seat in Pennsylvania. Though the seat is Democratic, Lee—a state representative who toppled a longtime incumbent in the 2018 wave—was running against a right-wing Republican, Mike Doyle, who has the same name as the retiring Democrat who’s represented the district for more than a quarter century. 


Lee faced an avalanche of spending from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)’s political action committee this year, over her perceived opposition to Israeli interests. First, AIPAC spent more than $2 million to support the moderate Democrat who faced her in the primary; then, during the home stretch of the general election, AIPAC threw down another $1 million in support of Doyle in TV ads and mailers, Pittsburgh public radio station WESA reported.

Ramirez, a Chicago housing activist who in 2018 became the first Guatemalan-American elected to the Illinois Legislature, easily won her election in the state’s Third Congressional District Tuesday and became the first Latina elected from a Midwestern state

Ramirez helped form the Illinois House Progressive Caucus and currently serves in the leadership of the Illinois House, where she led efforts to distribute emergency COVID funds for renters and homeowners, and for Chicagoans to be able to elect their own school board


And Crockett, a first-term state representative in Texas, won her race to succeed retiring Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas. 

A former public defender, Crockett stood out in the conservative Texas legislature for sponsoring bills to expand voting rights and reform policing and the criminal justice system, and for her opposition to laws restricting voting and banning abortion

“I don’t think it’s hard to be progressive in the state of Texas,” Crockett told Politico earlier this year. “We are the state saying, “Hey, women, for the last 50-plus years, you have a right to do whatever you wanted to do with your body, but we think that’s stupid.’”

A previous version of this story incorrectly described Maxwell Frost as the youngest person ever elected to Congress. He is the first member of Gen Z to be elected to the House.

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