Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), a prominent progressive congressman, will host a fundraiser next week for state Sen. Daylin Leach in Washington, D.C. Grayson's support is crucial to Leach's campaign in a competitive Democratic primary to represent Pennsylvania's 13th Congressional District.
Leach is vying for a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, who is campaigning for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania's gubernatorial primary. Pennsylvania’s 13th District covers northeast Philadelphia, as well as surrounding areas northwest of the city.
Leach is the most liberal candidate in a primary field that includes former Rep. Marjorie Margolies (who is also Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law), political newcomer Valerie Arkoosh and state Rep. Brendan Boyle.
Grayson's hosting of the Jan. 14 event, and his earlier endorsement, could help Leach gain momentum leading into his primary May 20. Leach's progressive stances on a number of policy issues may have piqued Grayson's interest -- as early as July the congressman wrote an email introducing Leach as a "Democrat with backbone" and encouraging supporters to donate to his campaign.
Leach has introduced bills to legalize medical marijuana every year since 1990, decried the impact of gerrymandering and pushed for the labeling of genetically engineered food. He's also introduced legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania -- five times.
Leach told HuffPost Live last month that he would pursue progressive stances on LGBT rights, drug legalization and financial regulation if he were elected to Congress.
"Well, first of all there are some progressives in Congress," Leach said. "There are not nearly enough, in my perspective."
Clarification: The original article has been updated to clarify that Grayson formally endorsed Leach in August, according to his office. Tuesday's event will be the first that Grayson has held for the Pennsylvania candidate.