Meet the young progressive trying to take out House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

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    McKayla Wilkes, a 29-year-old student and activist, hopes to replicate AOC’s model — in the Maryland suburbs

    DECEMBER 26, 2019 11:00AM (UTC)

    McKayla Wilkes, a 29-year-old college student and activist running a grassroots campaign to unseat 20-term incumbent Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, is fighting a battle against very long odds. Consider her first major endorsement in the 2020 race, from former Democratic Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska.

    Gravel, the anti-war two-term senator who ran a decidedly unconventional social-media campaign for the 2020 presidential election cycle — but has since withdrawn and endorsed Bernie Sanders — told Salon exclusively why he has endorsed the political newcomer.

    I am delighted to endorse McKayla Wilkes for Maryland’s 5th congressional district. Her views and voice will make a much needed contribution in Congress,” Gravel said. “My hope is that her success will follow the model of AOC,” referring to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

    Wilkes, a single mother of two, told Salon that she is hoping to replicate the unlikely 2018 primary victory of Ocasio-Cortez, who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress after defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, a member of the Democratic House leadership. Ocasio-Cortez has become the nation’s second-most talked about politician (after President Trump) and a public face of the deepening ideological divide within the Democratic Party….

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