House Democrats rallied around Rep. Dan Lipinski after his hard-fought primary victory in Illinois on Tuesday and hammered his Republican opponent, a Holocaust denier who has been disavowed by both the state and national GOP but nevertheless also won his primary contest.
Lipinski "is the Democratic nominee, and he will have the support of the Democratic caucus," Rep. Joe Crowley, the Democratic caucus chair, said Wednesday at a news conference.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, with Crowley at the news conference, added, "If you know anything about his Republican opponent for the general election you know that Democrats will be united behind Dan Lipinski. Somebody who has identified with extreme, far right, Nazi propaganda is not somebody that we want serving in the United States House of Representatives."
Lipinski survived a progressive primary challenge from Marie Newman on Tuesday for his Chicago-area House seat. His close win (51% to 49%) came despite an intense effort by pro-abortion rights and women's groups -- including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY's List -- to purge the party of the anti-abortion lawmaker in a reliably Democratic district. He will face Arthur Jones, the Holocaust denier, in the general election.
Crowley also discussed divisions between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party with the midterm elections approaching. He was asked about the message sent by Lipinski's victory, as well as Conor Lamb's win in the Pennsylvania special election last week.
"I think the message we got from, certainly, the Lamb election is: all politics is local, as Tip O'Neill said," Crowley said. "What Conor Lamb proved is that keeping the issues local -- talking about Social Security and Medicare, and the threat that they're under by this Republican administration and Republican Congress -- that talking about issues that are local to their communities themselves, and the passion that he brought in representing them, I think, speaks volumes to not just these two elections but for other elections as well."
Crowley continued, "For all of us, I've been counseling people who are running: remember to keep it local. People really identify with their local legislator. And I think that is what certainly Conor Lamb, and I have to suggest that maybe that's what happened in Illinois 3 as well. But the people have decided and we are moving forward. And we're a big tent party, and I think that is also represented by those elections as well."