Dem Divisions Play Out in Safe-Seat Primaries

Former state Sen. Mac Schneider is mulling a run in North Dakota.

Drew Gerber
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Drew Gerber
March 5, 2018, 10 a.m.

When Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL 03), “a conservative-leaning Democrat and scion of Chicago’s political machine, agreed to one joint appearance last month with his liberal primary challenger, the divide in the Democratic Party was evident in the audience that showed up. … Lipinski’s outnumbered supporters were the diminished lunch-pail Democrats that once dominated his Southside district. Those of his rival,” marketing consultant Marie Newman (D), “came from the party’s ascendant coalition — young progressives and women. … As the midterm election season gets underway with races in Texas on Tuesday and Illinois on March 20, contests like this one illustrate the turmoil of the Trump-era Democratic Party. … Yet the backlash to President Trump’s divisive politics has also fueled a demand by the party’s progressive wing for ideological purity and more diverse representation, a tension that could reshape what it means to be a Democrat.”

Lipinski: “This is part of the reason Donald Trump won. Democrats have chased people out of the party.”

In TX-07, “the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opened fire on a progressive candidate,” activist Laura Moser (D), “posting negative research to blunt her rise in fear that a victory by her in Tuesday’s primary race could doom the party’s bid for a suburban Houston district in November. But the battle to define the party is playing out most vividly in overwhelmingly safe House districts around cities like Boston, Chicago and New York, where younger liberals, often women, people of color or both, are confronting men who are products of a clubhouse politics where fealty to the organization was paramount.

“And no lawmakers may be more vulnerable to the rising left than” Lipinski and Massachusetts Rep. Michael Capuano (D-07), “a far more liberal Democrat who is nevertheless confronting a restless electorate in his Boston-based district.” Capuano “is a down-the-line progressive, who has drawn no opposition so far from national liberal groups. But he has stirred a challenge from” Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (D), “the first black woman elected to the Boston City Council. … Pressley argues that voters should demand an activist lawmaker who is more than a ‘reliable vote.’”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-05) of Oregon, “who leads the political arm of the centrist Blue Dog caucus, has complained to the” DCCC chairman “about the intervention of” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 09), who endorsed Newman, “and said he would seek a rule change so that members like her who have formal positions on the committee cannot oppose incumbents.”

Capuano “is expected to mobilize a powerful group of supporters on his side. He counts Boston’s popular mayor, Martin J. Walsh, as an ally,” who has “signaled” that he will lend Capuano his political operation, despite not yet issuing an endorsement. (New York Times)

ND-AL: Former state Sen. Mac Schneider (D) “sent a text to Forum Communications blogger Rob Port on Saturday after Port reported that an unnamed source told him Schneider planned to make the announcement Tuesday.”

Schneider: “Thanks for reaching out this morning. I don’t have anything official to announce today, but I can confirm I’m at my desk calling delegates presently.”

“Scott McNeil, executive director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party said he could not confirm whether Schneider planned a Tuesday announcement,” saying only that Schneider was considering a run for the House seat.

Commercial real estate broker Ben Hanson (D) and state Sen. John Grabinger (D) are currently in the race. (Bismarck Tribune)

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