Progressive Groups Back Marie Newman, Despite DCCC Blacklist

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call

It looks like major progressive organization won’t be scared off by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s policy of blacklisting political vendors who work with candidates challenging Democratic incumbents. EMILY’s List, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have endorsed Marie Newman’s primary race against Democratic representative Dan Lipinski, Newman’s campaign announced in a press release on Monday. “I am proud to have the endorsement of a coalition whose mission is to advocate for women, working families, workers, the middle class and progressive policies,” Newman said in the release.

Newman, who is pro-choice, is challenging Lipinski, who is anti-abortion, from the left. It’s her second primary challenge to Lipinski; in 2018, she came within 2.2 points of defeating him. Illinois’s Third Congressional District is not heavily Republican, and Newman likely stands a good chance of defeating the conservative Lipinski.

The organizations in Monday’s endorsement announcement had previously endorsed Newman in 2018. But their decision to do so again, at such an early moment in the campaign, has specific resonance now. The DCCC recently formalized a policy that penalizes vendors and consultants who work for insurgent candidates taking on incumbent Democrats. A consultant who signs on to work for Newman’s campaign can expect to be blocked from working for the DCCC — a significant disincentive. Last month Politico reported that Newman’s campaign had already lost four consultants as a result of the blacklist. But Monday’s endorsements could tip the odds back in Newman’s favor. Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America are major allies for the Democratic Party, and their support may well embolden consultants to defy the blacklist.

Speaking by phone to New York Magazine on April 26, Newman sounded undaunted. Of the DCCC’s blacklist, she said, “Here’s the thing on my campaign. I always figure it out. If there’s an obstacle, I get up and over it and get beyond it pretty quickly. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re moving beyond it.”

“Most importantly, I’m in alignment with the district and Dan is not,” she added. “That’s really kind of number one. That’s why we need a real Democrat that has a real plan, and my plan is to help fight for Medicare for All, to help fight for everybody every day.”

At the time of her conversation with New York, Newman said that she had conducted 53 meet-and-greets in the district during the last two and a half months, and added, “Everybody wants 15 dollars an hour. Everybody wants paid leave. Everybody wants universal child care and we must — and this is what I’m very focused on — bridge the income divide.”

Newman is likely to garner more progressive endorsements in coming weeks. Our Revolution, which was founded by veterans of Senator Bernie Sanders’s first campaign for president to elect left-wing Democrats to office, also endorsed her in 2018. Members of the group recently met with DCCC chair, Representative Cheri Bustos, to ask her to rescind or amend the blacklist policy.

Progressive Groups Back Marie Newman, Despite DCCC Blacklist