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July 7, 2018

Dem lawmaker: We need millennials to vote to take back House

Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) said that Democrats are going to need more young voters to turn out to the polls if the party wants to take back the House in the November midterm elections.

In a Monday interview with Hill.TV’s “Rising,” Barragán lamented Democrats’ lower-than-expected turnout in recent primaries, specifically in her home state of California.

“We’re seeing young people marching these days. We’re not seeing as many vote, yet. I think that’s going to be critical if we’re going to take back the House in the midterms,” Barragán said.

Democrats need to flip 23 seats in order to regain the House majority. The party is feeling bullish given President Trump‘s underwater job approval numbers as well as the historic trends that the president’s party typically loses seats in his first midterm election.

Barragán called on more people to organize and canvass to get voters engaged. She referred to the successful approach by Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), the No. 4 Democrat in House leadership, in a massive upset in last week’s primaries.

“People need to energize, need to organize, need to go out and make it happen. It won’t happen on its own,” she said. “[Ocasio-Cortez] didn’t win because Trump was so terrible. She won because she went out, she worked, she did it for a long time. She was on the ground knocking doors. I’m hoping people will do that.”

Following Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning victory, there’s been an ongoing conversation about the future of the Democratic Party and the party’s leadership in the House.

When asked if voters are looking for fresh faces in leadership, Barragán said the dialogue is starting to happen and that could, in turn, mobilize base voters heading into the election.

“We hear a lot throughout the district and throughout the country that people want to see new, young leadership,” she said. “There’s no doubt the conversation is happening, that people want to see young people, and we think that’ll also help energize the base.”

— Lisa Hagen