Yesterday, Paula Jean Swearengin announced her intentions to primary Senator Joe Manchin in 2018. She announced her intentions via Facebook and other social media platforms. Her candidacy has already garnered the backing of several national organizations including Brand New Congress, Justice Democrats, and We Will Replace You. These groups are working to support political outsiders with their insurgent campaigns in the 2018 primary cycle.
Paula Jean Swearengin campaign will be modeled around Senator Bernie Sanders longshot presidential bid last year that, while falling short, was able to raise more than $200 million dollars from small-dollar donations.
As a West Virginia native, coal miner’s daughter and granddaughter Paula has seen first hand the costs West Virginians have paid by having so much of our economy tied to the mining industry. She is running on a platform that includes Medicare for all, the investment of tens billions of dollars in West Virginia to replace lost high-wage mining jobs, the investment of billions of dollars for infrastructure, fighting the opioid epidemic with treatment, not incarceration, and the building of 100% renewable energy economy within 10 years. Despite being politically unknown her campaign has already raised more than $35,000 showing strong support for her campaign.
Swearengin is proposing an end the state’s reliance on coal and the diversification of West Virginia’s economy. Her positions stand in stark contrast to incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin. Swearengin says of Manchin, “He has been fighting for coal executives and ignoring coal miners.” Paula Jean believes that West Virginia can have a strong economy and a clean environment saying, “We shouldn’t have to sacrifice our land, water, and people. These are our most valuable resources. We all want high-wage jobs and healthy families, and we don’t have to give up everything we own to get them.”
Swearengin is not running alone, she has the support of a nation-wide network of organizers and dozens of other candidates across the country, through Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Since 2016, supporters of Brand New Congress have nominated candidates from varied backgrounds who have already made outsized impacts in their communities — and who, importantly, are not career politicians. After receiving and sorting through more than 9000 nominations, Brand New Congress has begun the process of announcing dozens of candidates across the country. Swearengin, in alignment with the Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats’ political platform, will not be taking any corporate donations. To date, the organizations and candidates have raised more than $1.6 million in small donations from more than 40,000 donors and have signed-on more than 200,000 supporters.