Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looks to repeat her own insurgent victory by endorsing progressive Democratic challenger in Illinois
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse her first 2020 House Democratic primary challenger on Tuesday, The New York Times reported.
- The progressive New Yorker will throw her support behind Marie Newman, an Illinois businesswoman, in her bid to unseat Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, a conservative House Democrat.
- "Marie Newman is a textbook example of one of the ways that we could be better as a party - to come from a deep blue seat and to be championing all the issues we need to be championing," Ocasio-Cortez told The Times.
- Newman came within two points of ousting Lipinski, who occupies a deep blue Chicago-area seat, in the 2018 primary.
- Newman's already been endorsed by an array of powerful progressive leaders, including two presidential candidates - Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren - as well as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Rep. Ro Khanna.
- Still, it's rare for Democrats to help unseat colleagues in their own party - and the Democratic Party establishment has already cracked down on primary challengers this year.
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party's campaign arm, announced last spring that it will no longer work with political vendors that support candidates running against sitting Democrats.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse her first 2020 House Democratic primary challenger on Tuesday, the The New York Times reported.
The progressive New Yorker will support Marie Newman, an Illinois businesswoman, in her bid to unseat Rep. Dan Lipinski, a conservative House Democrat whose opposition to abortion, the Affordable Care Act, and gay marriage - among others - have made him unpopular with progressives.
Newman, who lost her first primary bid against Lipinski by just two points in 2018, is positioning herself as a significantly more progressive alternative for a district that went for Hillary Clinton by 15 points in 2016.
"Marie Newman is a textbook example of one of the ways that we could be better as a party - to come from a deep blue seat and to be championing all the issues we need to be championing," Ocasio-Cortez told the Times.
The Bronx native argued Lipinski's conservative positions on key issues are "extremely problematic" in a deep blue district. (Sen. Bernie Sanders won the district by nine points in the 2016 presidential primary.)
"The fact that a deep blue seat is advocating for many parts of the Republican agenda is extremely problematic," she told The Times. "We're not talking about a swing state that is being forced to take tough votes."
And the congresswoman said she won't weigh in on primaries in competitive purple districts.
"If we're going to make these changes, they need to come from safe blue seats," she said.
Lipinksi defended his record as a Blue Dog Democrat in a statement to Insider earlier this year.
"I have been a commonsense Democratic leader who has brought people together to solve problems," the congressman said in an April statement. "Voters in the Third District have continued to send me to Washington to be an effective legislator, not to be an ineffective show horse."
Newman is backed by Justice Democrats, the progressive group that powered Ocasio-Cortez's insurgent primary campaign in 2018. And the candidate has already been endorsed by an array of powerful progressive leaders, including two presidential candidates - Sens. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and California Rep. Ro Khanna.
Still, it's rare for Democrats - particularly prominent and mainstream figures - to help unseat colleagues in their own party.
The Democratic Party is cracking down on Democratic primary challengers this cycle. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party's campaign arm, announced in late March that it will no longer work with political strategists and vendors that support candidates running against sitting Democrats.
The new rule elicited backlash from Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives, who argued it will hurt first-time candidates, particularly women and people of color. Ocasio-Cortez called the move "extremely divisive" and urged her supporters to "pause" their financial support of the DCCC.
Newman said the rule forced four consultants to abandon her campaign earlier this year. She celebrated Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement and told The Times her campaign is about "putting someone in place that is in alignment directly with the district on issues like affordability for the middle class and working families, the Green New Deal."
Justice Democrats executive director Alexandra Rojas described the endorsement as a win for the "movement to make the Democratic Party fight for solutions as big as the problems we face and create a party of voters, not corporate donors."
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