Leading up to the Democratic Congressional primaries, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using her platform to hold the door open for progressive candidates like her who are looking to challenge established incumbents. Her latest endorsement is for Marie Newman, a progressive candidate who is running for Congress in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers the southwestern reaches of Chicago and its suburbs, a stronghold for Democrats.
Newman’s political positions are aligned with those supported by the Justice Democrats, including raising the minimum wage, pursuing the Green New Deal, implementing a progressive tax on the wealthiest Americans, and supporting Medicare for All. I’ve watched my community grow and progress and my Congressman fall behind,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “This is about electing someone who knows this district, who will fight for bold progressive policies that will make life more affordable for everyone.”
Newman’s opponent Representative Dan Lipinski is a moderate Democrat whose political positions are not aligned with a large part of the Democratic Party. He voted against the Affordable Care Act, did not endorse President Obama’s reelection, and currently opposes a woman’s right to choose. Lipinski has been in office since 2005; his father Bill Lipinski represented the district for over a decade prior to that.
“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,” AOC told the New York Times this week, emphasizing that she was endorsing Newman to unseat an incumbent in a district that is safely blue.
Lipinski’s anti-choice position has raised the profile of the race — actually, a rematch with Newman after Lipinski garnered just over half of the votes cast during the 2018 primaries. For the 2020 primaries, Newman has the support of progressive politicians like AOC, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s List. A fundraiser for Lipinski was canceled earlier this year following an outcry against his position on abortion, something that he attributed to “people in the party who are not tolerant.”
Following AOC’s endorsement, Lipinski derisively positioned Newman as a fifth member of The Squad. “The Democratic Party — and our country — cannot afford an obstructionist ‘Tea Party of the Left’ when we need to focus on winning this next election and passing policies that will truly help working families and all who are struggling in America today,” he said in a statement.