There is a growing group of politicians running for office: evangelical Democrats.
Politico Magazine reports that there are about a dozen vying for office this year, which is a large increase from previous election cycles.
“It has been a huge, huge spike,” Christina Forrester, founder and executive director of Christian Democrats for America, told Politico.
She said her organization has received about 100 calls from Christian Democrats looking to run for office since the 2018 midterms. From 2006-2018, she estimates she answered less than 30 calls from candidates openly identifying on the ballot as Christian Democrats.
Robb Ryerse, political director at Vote Common Good, which is trying to energize faith voters to vote against Trump, said in 2018 there were only two or three Democrat evangelicals running for office. Now, he guesses there are about 12.
One of those candidates is Hillary Scholten. The civil rights attorney is running for Congress in her home state of Michigan. She had worked as a policy adviser in President Barack Obama’s Department of Justice, but quit in protest of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies. She is a registered Democrat who is an evangelical Christian, she told Politico.
She is running for Justin Amash’s seat. He isn’t seeking reelection and Democrats are hoping to flip the seat.
Scholten isn’t the only Christian Democrat looking to win over some of the GOP’s white religious voters.
The Rev. Raphael Warnock, a pastor at an evangelical church, is running for Senate as a Democrat in Georgia. In Missouri, Christian pastor Cori Bush is running for Congress. And in Colorado, evangelical immigrant rights activist Michelle Warren is planning another run after falling short of making the ballot for a Senate bid.
It is unclear if the religious Democrats will take any voters away from the Republican Party, which has long been supported by evangelical Christians. An overwhelming majority backed President Donald Trump in 2016.
Some Democrats may even question supporting religious candidates.
Lori Goldman, founder of Fems for Dems, a political action committee in Michigan that works to elect progressives, said her organization would support any candidate whose policies align with progressive values. But, she told Politico that religious candidates raise concern.
“I get a bad taste in my mouth,” she told Politico. “People have done the most egregious things in the name of religion since the beginning of time.”
Scholten said she doesn’t hide her faith while campaigning.
“I think that voters have a right to know the person who is representing them,” she said.
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