Sanders backs Ill. Dem primarying incumbent

Sanders backs Ill. Dem primarying incumbent
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Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBernie Sanders mocks Trump: ‘He could change his mind tomorrow’ Sunday shows preview: Questions linger over Trump-Putin summit Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin 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 GillibrandThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Trump: ‘Dems have a death wish’ Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (D-N.Y.) and Illinois Democratic Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyLawmakers worry about rise in drugged driving 'Paws for Celebration' event brings rescue animals to the Capitol House Dems seek answers from firm led by former Cambridge Analytica employee MORE and Luis Gutierréz.

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