Georgia 7th: Islam picks up a first-ever endorsement from progressive group

An influential progressive group that bills itself as the counterweight to the tea party backed Nabilah Islam's bid for Georgia's 7th Congressional District, the first endorsement it's ever given to a candidate in a primary election.

Occupy Democrats said Friday it would regularly encourage its 8 million online members to support Islam and donate to her campaign as she aims to flip the Gwinnett-based district held by retiring Republican Rep. Rob Woodall.

“Nabilah Islam sums up just the type of person we need in office across this country,” said Omar Rivero, the founder of the group. “She has proven herself to be a progressive champion and the antithesis of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.”

Islam, a veteran Democratic activist from Lawrenceville, entered the race in February with an unapologetically progressive platform that includes support for "Medicare for all," a $15-an-hour minimum wage and a promise to reject corporate money.

A child of Bangladeshi immigrants, she's been dubbed by the national media as Georgia's version of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the founding members of the progressive Squad that's vilified by President Donald Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Islam hasn't shied away from that comparison as she's sought to energize voters in the fast-changing district, which spans parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. It was home to the tightest House election in the nation last year, with Woodall narrowly defeating Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux.

She's running again next year, as are a group of other Democrats that include former Fulton County Commission chair John Eaves, state Sen. Zahra Karinshak and state Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero.

A crowd of Republicans has also packed the race. Air Force veteran Ben Bullock, businessman Mark Gonsalves, former Home Depot executive Lynn Homrich, physician Richard McCormick and state Sen. Renee Unterman are among the conservatives competing for the nomination.

More: Atlanta's suburban U.S. House seats are back in the crosshairs