The Center Strikes Back! Tea Party of the Left Goes Down in Illinois
Far-left activist groups spent months and millions of dollars trying to destroy Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in yesterday’s IL-3 primary election. They failed, thanks to a dedicated independent effort by No Labels and its ally, Country Forward, to protect a valued member of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus. No Labels inspired the creation of the Caucus in January 2017.
“The political center was left for dead. But this race shows it is alive and well,” said No Labels National Co-Chair Sen. Joe Lieberman. “And it is not a moment too soon. The ideological purges happening in both parties are toxic for our democracy and it makes effective governance impossible. No Labels and our allies are organizing the vast majority of Americans who are tired of a narrow fringe charting the direction of our country. The center is striking back, and we are proud to have played a decisive role in re-electing Dan Lipinski. Our Congress is much better off with leaders like Dan Lipinski in it, who understand that they are there to solve problems, not just obey the increasingly narrow dictates of their party.”
Lipinski challenger Marie Newman was endorsed by major Democratic luminaries determined to move the party left, including Senators Bernie Sanders (VT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). Pro-Newman spending approached $3 million in this campaign, with almost $2 million of that coming from outside independent expenditure groups including: MoveOn.org, Indivisible, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, Human Rights Campaign and the SEIU.
No Labels and Country Forward were the only outside groups to make significant investments to support Dan Lipinski. Thousands of No Labels citizens were engaged in the Lipinski race and many volunteers worked to encourage people to turn out to vote for him, including some who were on the ground this past week in IL-3 knocking on doors. Country Forward also spent over $1 million to educate and turn out voters and to match the barrage of outside spending from left-wing activist groups.
No Labels and Country Forward have increasingly turned their focus to independently protecting and electing members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus—which includes 48 members equally divided between Democrats and Republicans—committed to getting to “yes,” on key issues. In the last year, Rep. Lipinski and his Caucus colleagues released the first and only bipartisan health care reform and the first bipartisan immigration plan in this Congress, and provided pivotal votes to avert two government shutdowns.
“This is only the first of many 2018 election battles—on both sides—where No Labels will engage,” said No Labels Chief Strategist Ryan Clancy. “The far left and far right would rather chase supposed apostates out of their own party than provide a realistic or affirmative vision to govern our country. Someone needs to push back, or we’ll end up next year with a Congress even more polarized and less capable of getting anything done. That’s a disaster and No Labels isn’t going to wait around to let it happen.”
In 2016, the Country Forward team played a key role in defeating Freedom Caucus leader Tim Huelskamp in a GOP primary and in electing current Problem Solvers Caucus member Rep. Darren Soto in his Democratic primary.