Hey, it worked for AOC, right? And Kirsten Gillibrand needs to capture some lightning in a bottle soon if she’s going to move up from her current support level of zero in the Democratic primary race. What better way than to toss your support to a hard left primary challenger even after the DCCC said they would blacklist anyone trying to knock off the current incumbents?
For better or worse, that’s what the New York Senator seems to be doing this week. She’s pushed herself into the primary for the Illinois Third District seat currently held by pro-life Democrat Dan Lipinski. Gillibrand has endorsed his primary challenger (and previous opponent) Marie Newman. (WaPo)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is endorsing a Democratic challenger to Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), making her the first presidential contender to wade into a down-ballot Democratic primary.
At a Democratic Party event in Chicago, Gillibrand endorsed Marie Newman, a liberal activist who narrowly lost to Lipinski in 2018. At the same event, Newman endorsed Gillibrand’s presidential campaign.
“She’s got a tough race in front of her, but I promise you, Marie will represent her district better and she will represent all of us better,” said Gillibrand. Moments earlier, Newman had endorsed Gillibrand’s presidential campaign.
We’ve covered Lipinski here in the past, mostly because he drives the rest of the Democrats crazy. He’s already drawn primary challenges from his left on multiple occasions, but he keeps hanging in there somehow. Illinois-3 is a rather strange district, as we’ve noted here before. Located in a more rural part of the state outside of Chicago, it’s definitely still a blue district, clocking in at around D+15. (Hillary Clinton carried it by a wide margin.) But it’s also not a pro-abortion area either. It’s tailor-made for a more moderate Democrat like Lipinski.
So Gillibrand’s play may not wind up having any impact on that race, but that’s not the audience she’s speaking to. She wants to show the national primary voters that she’s “brave” enough to stand up to the party establishment and push a far more progressive/socialist female candidate. And since plenty of progressives are making a game of kicking Nancy Pelosi and the DCCC around these days (and reaping a ton of earned media for doing so), it might not be the craziest idea she’s had.
But will it do any good? Despite getting an early start, Gillibrand’s national campaign has gone absolutely nowhere. Her opponents were all more than happy to remind everyone of her conservative roots in Congress before she’d even gotten out of the gates. She hasn’t made too many major gaffes in the campaign since then, but with so many more liberal choices on the menu, people simply aren’t flocking to her banner. And if she can’t push her campaign into a higher gear by summer, I’m going to predict that she’ll probably be one of the first to drop out, possibly as soon as the results from the Iowa straw poll come in.