As he faces a primary challenge for his positions on social issues in Illinois’ 3rd District, Rep. Dan Lipinski warned Democrats risked creating a left-wing tea party.
In an interview on 720 WGN AM, Lipinski said there is a “battle” for the meaning of the Democratic Party, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Four years ago we were at our lowest point in (Democratic seats in) the U.S. House since Herbert Hoover was president,” he said. “We’ve come up slightly since then, but we’re still in a big hole, and there are those who want to have a tea party of the left in the Democratic Party to match, unfortunately, what’s happened to the Republicans.”
Lipinski is currently facing a primary challenge from his left by Marie Newman. Newman has been endorsed by Lipinski’s Illinois Democratic colleagues Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez.
Lipinski is one of a handful of Democrats who opposes abortion. He spoke earlier this year at the annual March for Life abortion protest.
Lipinski is also one of only three Democratic members of Congress still in office who voted against the 2010 health care law and has been criticized for opposing same-sex marriage.
“We need to have a big tent party. We need to rally around those issues that can bring all Democrats together, and that’s what I’ve always done,” he said. “First and foremost, we have to be for working men and women, for being champions of the middle class and taking care of the bread and butter issues that people really care about and restoring the American Dream. That brings all Democrats together, and I think that’s what we should focus on.”
Lipinski’s father previously held the seat he won in 2005. Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi endorsed Lipinski’s re-election.
Illinois’ 3rd District primary is March 20.
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