Ocasio-Cortez endorses challenger to Democrat Lipinski in Illinois race

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence The Hill Interview: Jerry Brown on climate disasters, COVID-19 and Biden's 'Rooseveltian moment' MORE (D-N.Y.), the progressive freshman lawmaker who ousted a longtime incumbent in the midterms last year, is backing a challenger hoping to unseat one of the most conservative House Democrats in an Illinois race. 

Ocasio-Cortez announced her endorsement of Marie Newman Tuesday. It is the first endorsement the congresswoman has made in the 2020 House races. 

Newman is running against Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District. She lost to the incumbent in 2018 by just more than 2,000 votes. 

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“Marie Newman is a textbook example of one of the ways that we could be better as a party — to come from a deep blue seat and to be championing all the issues we need to be championing,” Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times

“The fact that a deep blue seat is advocating for many parts of the Republican agenda is extremely problematic. We’re not talking about a swing state that is being forced to take tough votes,” she added. 

Newman said in a statement sent by Justice Democrats, a group that backs progressive candidates including Newman and Ocasio-Cortez, that she is “thrilled” to have the endorsement. 

“The momentum is growing in our movement to make the Democratic Party fight for solutions as big as the problems we face and create a party of voters, not corporate donors,” Newman said. 

Newman supports progressive proposals such as "Medicare for All" and the Green New Deal.

She has also picked up endorsements from two Democratic presidential candidates, Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' Two GOP governors urge Republicans to hold off on Supreme Court nominee Sanders knocks McConnell: He's going against Ginsburg's 'dying wishes' MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden's fiscal program: What is the likely market impact? Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Don't expect a government check anytime soon MORE (D-Mass.). 

Lipinski is an anti-abortion Democrat who faced his toughest primary challenge in 2018, with progressive lawmakers breaking with House Democratic leaders' support for him. 

Among those leaders was then-Rep. Joseph Crowley, at the time the House Democratic Caucus chairman, whom Ocasio-Cortez beat in the Democratic primary for New York's 14th District.