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Two Dem House members back challenger to anti-abortion rights Dem

Two Dem House members back challenger to anti-abortion rights Dem
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Two Democratic House members are endorsing a primary challenger looking to unseat fellow Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiHouse votes to condemn alleged hysterectomies on migrant women Five things we learned from this year's primaries Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses slate of non-Hispanic candidates MORE (D-Ill.), one of the only House Democrats opposed to abortion rights.

Illinois Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyFreshman GOP lawmaker apologizes for Hitler quote Newly sworn-in Republican lawmaker condemned by Holocaust Museum after Hitler quote 150 House Democrats support Biden push to reenter Iran nuclear deal MORE and Luis Gutiérrez threw their support Wednesday behind Marie Newman, a former marketing consultant who’s running against Lipinski in the upcoming March 20 primary. The winner of that primary will be the favorite to win the seat in the November election, since it's considered solidly blue.

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It’s unusual for incumbent members to endorse a primary challenger to a fellow member. Newman and the two lawmakers officially announced the news at a press conference Wednesday afternoon on Capitol Hill.

“The people of Illinois' 3rd district want a pro-health care, pro-immigrant,  pro-woman, pro-LGBTQ Member of Congress to represent them in Washington. Unfortunately, the current Member does not reflect those values, which is why I am endorsing Marie Newman for Congress,” Schakowsky said.

Schakowsky has served in Congress since 1999 and is considered one of the most progressive members in the House Democratic caucus.

“Marie will fight for the reproductive freedom of all Illinois families, protect immigrants and our Dreamers and fight to give all hardworking families their best shot,” said Gutiérrez, who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term in 2018.

Progressives have been targeting Lipinski — a staunch anti-abortion lawmaker — and have sought to boost Newman’s candidacy in the Chicago-area district.

Newman’s endorsements come days before Lipinski, co-chair of the House’s bipartisan Pro Life Caucus, is set to speak on Friday at the March for Life, an annual anti-abortion rally. The White House announced that President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE will also be addressing the rally.

Lipinski hasn’t faced many competitive primary challenges, telling The Hill back in November that his “voting record is very much in line with my district.” Hours before the Wednesday press conference, Lipinski rolled out endorsements of his own from 30 mayors located in the 3rd district.

Illinois's primary will serve as an early test for the Democratic Party's progressive wing and the issue of abortion within the party.

Some national Democratic groups have argued that a large tent on abortion issues will help the party in its battle for the House majority in 2018. But activists and other progressives believe that the party should stand by its platform by holding anti-abortion rights Democrats accountable.

Those groups have targeted Lipinski's voting record, which includes a vote against the Affordable Care Act in 2010; and a vote to freeze funding for Planned Parenthood. He was also one of only six House Democrats who voted in 2013 for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

Wednesday’s endorsements are Newman’s first from House lawmakers. She’s so far garnered support from Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandDemocrats torn on impeachment trial timing OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: 12 removed from National Guard inauguration security | Austin backs lifting transgender ban Biden Pentagon pick supports lifting transgender military ban MORE (D-N.Y.) as well as from the liberal blog Daily Kos and national women’s right groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America.

NARAL is out with a new ad targeting Lipinski ahead of the March for Life. The online ads will launch on Thursday and link Lipinski to Trump and Vice President Pence

In an interview with The Hill from late November, Newman described Lipinski’s views on abortion rights, immigration and LGBT rights as “antiquated.”

But unseating an incumbent is a difficult feat. Lipinski, a co-chair of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, has represented the district since 2005, when his father vacated the seat. He also has a significant cash on hand advantage over Newman.

 

Ben Kamisar contributed.