Who is Marie Newman? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Endorses First 2020 Challenger to Democrat

New York Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday made her first endorsement for a House primary challenger against a Democratic incumbent.

Ocasio-Cortez threw her support behind 2020 Illinois District 3 congressional candidate Marie Newman, as she once again takes on moderate "corporate" Democrat Dan Lipinski, who has held the office since 2005. Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement marks the congresswoman's first time backing a primary challenger in her own party and comes after Lipinski narrowly defeated Newman in the 2018 Democratic primary election. Lipinski responded by ridiculing the so-called "Squad" member and writing off both Ocasio-Cortez and Newman as "extreme."

Despite the suburban Chicago district being "deeply blue," according to Ocasio-Cortez, Lipinski is one of the most conservative members of the Democratic caucus. He voted against the Affordable Care Act and has stood by several anti-abortion positions during his tenure in Congress.

"It's going to take a bigger, stronger Democratic Party—one that's returned to our FDR roots & fights for working people—to change our future in 2020. We can't afford deep blue seats fighting against healthcare & equal rights. We need @Marie4Congress," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, tagging Newman's account.

"Marie Newman is a textbook example of one of the ways that we could be better as a party—to come from a deep blue seat and to be championing all the issues we need to be championing," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with The New York Times. "The fact that a deep blue seat is advocating for many parts of the Republican agenda is extremely problematic. We're not talking about a swing state that is being forced to take tough votes."

Lipinski shot back at the New York congresswoman, issuing a statement Tuesday afternoon saying Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement "makes crystal clear that Ms. Newman is an extreme candidate who is completely out of step with the voters of Illinois' Third District who do not want to be represented by a fifth member of the 'Squad.' The Democratic Party—and our country—cannot afford an obstructionist 'Tea Party of the Left' when we need to focus on winning this next election and passing policies that will truly help working families and all who are struggling in America today."

Lipinski went on to ridicule Newman's "so-called Medicare-for-All plan," saying it would take away private health insurance from 170 million Americans and completely eliminate current Medicare for seniors. Lipinski barely defeated Newman in the 2018 primary, winning with 51.1 percent of the vote against Newman's 48.9 percent.

Ocasio-Cortez continued offering her support Tuesday to Newman, labeling her a "grassroots fighter for working families" in Illinois' 3rd District. "To me, choosing to support is about more than just policy. It's also about who puts in the WORK. Are they wearing out their shoes? Marie is. Her supporters are. Let's knock doors & join them," she tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez has not yet endorsed a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, although top comments on several of her tweets endorsing Newman called for her support of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is backing Marie Newman, a challenger to incumbent Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski. Ocasio-Cortez has called her colleague's centrist stance "extremely problematic." Alex Wong/Getty Images