Sanders backs Ill. Dem primarying incumbent

Sanders backs Ill. Dem primarying incumbent
© Getty

Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHannity snaps back at 'Crybaby' Todd: 'Only conservatives have to disclose relationships?' Chuck Todd lashes out at Fox, defends wife in radio interview Trump pressed Sessions to fire FBI agents who sent anti-Trump texts: report MORE is throwing his weight behind an Illinois candidate threatening to unseat Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) in the Democratic primary.

Sanders's decision to endorse Democrat Marie Newman underscores the deep fault lines that are emerging in the race as progressives target Lipinski for his views on issues like LGBT rights and immigration.

"Marie Newman has made it clear that she will be a champion for working families in Illinois, which is why I am proud to support her campaign” Sanders said in a statement, citing her support for policies like health care for all and raising the minimum wage.

"She will defend women’s rights, LGBT rights and ensure immigrants have a safe path to citizenship. I am proud to stand with Marie and look forward to continuing to fight alongside her on these and other critical issues once she’s elected to Congress.”

Lipinski has held his seat for more than a decade after he successfully ran to take over the seat previously held by his father. He's one of the few Democratic members of Congress who regularly votes against expanding abortion rights and has also drawn the ire of progressives for his votes on immigration as well.

The longtime congressman has defended himself from the primary challenge by arguing that the Democratic Party is better off with a big tent that includes those who don't walk the party line on some issues. He has also said he believes that his constituents have continued to reelect him easily because they feel he reflects their stances on the issues.

But Newman is giving Lipinski the toughest run of his career. She's been backed by a slew of progressive groups and politicians, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, EMILY's List, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSchumer to introduce bill to decriminalize marijuana Navy, Marines chiefs say no morale issues with transgender troops Dem senators call on FCC to protect against robocalls MORE (D-N.Y.) and Illinois Democratic Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyOvernight Tech: Highlights from Zuckerberg's second day of testimony | Trump signs anti-sex trafficking bill | Cambridge Analytica interim CEO steps down | IBM stops advertising on Laura Ingraham's show Dem rep lists Zuckerberg's apologies for Facebook mistakes Live coverage: Zuckerberg faces second day on Capitol Hill MORE and Luis Gutierréz.

A recent poll commissioned by NARAL found Newman within 2 points of Lipinski—within its margin of error—this week.