Lipinski’s Progressive Challenger Says She’s Losing Staffers Thanks To DCCC Blacklist

Marie Newman, Democratic candidate for Congress in IL-03, speaks to reporters in Washington on January 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Newman, the progressive primary challenger running against conservative Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), said on Tuesday that she’s losing staffers due to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s blacklist against any vendor who works with non-incumbent candidates.

Newman wrote in an email to supporters that the “D.C. establishment forced another member of our team to leave the campaign.” She said that’s the third time it’s happened as a result of the blacklist.

“Look, I get it. The DCCC exists to elect Democrats to the House, and a big part of that is supporting their incumbents,” Newman wrote. “But this is different.”

She added that Lipinski, who opposes abortion and LGBTQ rights, is “not the Democrat we need.”

Neither Newman’s campaign nor the DCCC responded to TPM’s request for comment.

The Democratic Party’s fundraising powerhouse came under fire from progressives in March after it announced it would refuse to do business with any campaign consultants who work with a non-incumbent Democratic candidate. DCCC chair Cheri Bustos (D-IL) subsequently shot down Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-CA)’s suggested compromise to only apply the blacklisting rule to races in swing districts (Lipinski’s district is reliably blue).

The DCCC experienced even more controversy in May, when Bustos planned to appear at a fundraiser for Lipinski even as the organization she runs was condemning Alabama and Georgia’s recently passed abortion bans.

Bustos later pulled out of the event and reiterated her pro-choice stance, though she indicated the DCCC would continue to help Lipinski’s reelection campaign.

“While Congressman Lipinski and I do not agree on women’s reproductive health care, this does not change how I will work as DCCC Chair to protect our big tent Democratic caucus,” Bustos said in an emailed statement to TPM at the time. “Even though we may not agree with each other 100 percent of the time, it’s a fact that every dollar spent trying to defeat one of our Democratic incumbents is a dollar that we cannot spend defeating Republicans.”

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