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Sanders backs Ill. Dem primarying incumbent

Sanders backs Ill. Dem primarying incumbent
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Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Bernie Sanders' age should not disqualify him in 2020 Small-dollar donations explode in the Trump era 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.

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"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 GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (D-N.Y.) and Illinois Democratic Reps. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials ratchet up fight over drug pricing | McConnell says Republicans could try again on ObamaCare repeal | Dems go on offense against GOP lawsuit Overnight Health Care — Presented By National Partnership for Women & Families — Senate sends opioid package to Trump's desk | Drug companies fear Dem Congress | Premiums for employer plans rise Drug companies fear Democratic Congress MORE and Luis Gutierréz.

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