Democratic Lawmaker Responds After Ocasio-Cortez Targets His Seat With Far-Left Challenger
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez holds an immigration Town Hall In Queens
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) fired back on Tuesday after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) endorsed his progressive challenger’s bid to unseat the longtime incumbent.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement of Marie Newman makes crystal clear that Ms. Newman is an extreme candidate who is completely out of step with the voters of Illinois’ Third District, who do not want to be represented by a fifth member of the ‘Squad,'” Lipinski wrote in a statement. “The Democratic Party — and our country — cannot afford an obstructionist ‘Tea Party of the Left’ when we need to focus on winning this next election and passing policies that will truly help working families and all who are struggling in America today.”

Lipinski’s remarks come only hours after the self-proclaimed “radical” congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez, announced her support for Newman. The freshman New Yorker called Newman’s candidacy “a textbook example of one of the ways that we could be better as a party.” Ocasio-Cortez seemingly took issue with Lipinski’s more moderate voting record.

Lipinski is a member of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition and has one of the most conservative voting records of any congressional Democrat. As one of the last remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress, he has often been a target of the Party’s progressive wing.

The eight-term congressman handily won reelection in 2018 after receiving 73% of the vote. Democrats also won the district during the 2016 presidential election, when former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outperformed now-President Donald Trump by nearly 20 points.

“I have been a leader in Congress in working to lower sky-rocketing health care prices, especially for prescription drugs, and in fighting to make the [Affordable Care Act] truly affordable to those without insurance,” Lipinski said. “I have also been a leader in fighting climate change since I was first elected to Congress, having authored two laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions and having helped introduce the first bipartisan carbon fee bill in Congress more than a decade ago.”

“Third District residents want commonsense leadership and someone who fights for workable policies that help create jobs, improve access to affordable healthcare, address climate change, keep communities safe, and improve infrastructure and education,” he continued. “I have a long record of standing with working families on these issues and look forward to continuing to serve as their representative in the years to come.”

Justice Democrats, the progressive PAC credited with the rise of Ocasio-Cortez, has also previously endorsed Newman. Alexandra Rojas, the organization’s executive director, stated that Newman is the first Justice Democrats-backed candidate to publicly receive Ocasio-Cortez’s support.

Justice Democrats revealed in April that the group would be creating its own infrastructure to fundraise for progressive primary challengers after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) announced it would not support challengers to Democratic incumbents.

Ocasio-Cortez, however, belittled Lipinski’s statement, characterizing it as “aggressive.”

“This is a real quote from a Democrat representing a safe blue seat,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “Aggressive statements like these are so casually thrown from corporate candidates towards grassroots ones, yet they never get branded as ‘divisive,’ despite their rhetoric. We should ask ourselves why that is.”