Sanders endorses Lipinski's progressive primary challenger

Sanders endorses Lipinski's progressive primary challenger
© Getty Images

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll Warren calls for Brazil to drop charges against Glenn Greenwald MORE (I-Vt.) will endorse progressive Democrat Marie Newman in her primary bid to unseat Rep. Daniel LipinskiDaniel William LipinskiMore than 200 lawmakers urge Supreme Court to 'reconsider' Roe v. Wade Democratic group to only endorse attorney general candidates who back abortion rights Democrats unveil impeachment procedures MORE (D-Ill.), one of the few remaining anti-abortion lawmakers in the party. 

Lipinski defeated Newman by just two points in the 2018 midterms, and he has drawn the ire of progressive groups over his opposition to abortion rights, a stance that has been underlined by a slate of states recently adopting stringent restrictions on the procedure.

ADVERTISEMENT

“At a time when workers are under attack by Wall Street and women's rights are under attack by well-funded extremist groups across the country, I am proud to support Marie Newman's grassroots campaign for Congress,” Sanders said in a statement to The Hill.

“Marie will challenge the establishment by fighting for Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, expanding workers’ rights, and she will be a powerful voice for upholding Roe v Wade at a disturbing moment in our history when a woman’s right to control her own body and future is at stake,” Sanders added.

BuzzFeed News was the first to report on Sanders’s endorsement.

Newman has made her support for access to abortion a centerpiece of her primary bid, earning her the endorsements of a slate of abortion rights and progressive groups as well as Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (D-N.Y.) and Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBloomberg, Steyer focus on climate change in effort to stand out Our government and public institutions must protect us against the unvaccinated Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE (D), two other 2020 contenders.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the body responsible for electing Democrats to the House, has struggled with how to deal with Lipinski’s reelection bid. Rep. Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea Bustos Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (D-Ill.), who chairs the group, pulled out of a fundraiser for him last month, specifically citing her concerns over abortion restrictions. 

“[Lipinski] asked me to attend a fundraiser for him several months ago and I agreed to do so, but I’ve determined that I must cancel my participation in this event,” Bustos said in a statement. “I’m proud to have a 100 percent pro-choice voting record and I’m deeply alarmed by the rapidly escalating attacks on women’s access to reproductive care in several states.” 

Days later, however, she defended her efforts to protect all House incumbents.

“Everybody has to navigate their own district, and who am I to prescribe how anybody does that?” she said. “I just think, our core values as Democrats, we’re pretty much on the same page. We want to make sure that people have opportunities to do better.” 

Sanders’s endorsement comes after several states have adopted varying restrictions on abortion, many of which banned the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected, often around six weeks into a pregnancy. Alabama went the furthest of all the states by completely banning the procedure unless the mother’s life is at risk.

“This type of legislation is authoritarian and totalitarian. There’s no other way to describe it,” Newman said in an interview with BuzzFeed last week. “Let’s be honest about what it is. It’s taking us back 100 years, and that’s not exaggerating.”

Sanders has frequently mentioned abortion on the campaign trail, saying at a rally last month, “This is an issue that impacts all of us.”