LA GRANGE, IL — Challenger Marie Newman is calling out Congressman Dan Lipinski for running a “dishonest machine-style campaign” after some of her supporters complained of receiving text messages stating that Newman is a “Holocaust denier.” Newman and Lipinski are said to be in a statistical dead heat in the contentious Democratic primary in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District. Supporters said they began receiving the text messages this past weekend.
A woman who identifies herself as “Leslie Benjamini” from the Washington, D.C.-based No Labels group — a political centrist organization comprised of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who aim to combat partisan dysfunction in politics by focusing on bipartisan problem solving — texted a voter asking him if he planned to vote for Dan Lipinski in the March 20 Democratic primary. When the the receiver stated he is voting for Newman, Benjamini states that Lipinski’s opponent is a Holocaust denier. Benjamini tells the receiver to look up “No Labels, a new group that is trying to get government working again.” The message goes on to state that Lipinski is a “believer in this group.”
“His opponent is a Holocaust denier among other things,” the text goes on to say. “Please educate yourself before you vote. All I ask.”
Lipinski does have an opponent who is a Holocaust denier who is running as the lone candidate in the Republican primary in Illinois’ 3rd District, avowed neo-Nazi Art Jones of Lyons. In the second message sent to the Newman supporter, Benjamini mistakes the receiver’s phone number for his mother’s.
“For the second time I am NOT [NAME] … she is my mother and she hosted a fundraiser for Marie Newman. And for the record, I voted for her early Saturday [March 10].”
“Thanks for voting,” Benjamini texts back. “Did you know she’s a Holocaust denier.”
The No Labels group based in Washington, D.C., was founded in 2010. The group strives to “create a vibrant New Center that supports leaders who put country before party.” No Labels inspired the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of congressional members that includes Lipinski. A Chicago Sun-Times investigation has also tied No Labels to such Super PACS as United for Progress Inc. As of late, United for Progress Inc. has been sent out a flurry of political hit pieces attacking Newman’s progressive agenda, as well as TV and radio commercials
An angry Newman demanded an apology from Lipinski, accusing the congressman of running “dishonest machine campaign.”
“Dan Lipinski is playing politics with a tragedy in human history that cost the lives of millions–and which deeply affects those of Jewish heritage, including my husband and his family,” Newman said in a written statement. “I did not think Dan Lipinski could stoop any lower than the dishonest machine campaign he has been running, but this is a new level of moral bankruptcy. He should issue a public apology immediately.”
Lipinski’s staff said he was on a plane to Washington, D.C., and unavailable for comment. A spokesman from No Labels, Ryan Clancy, admitted that the group was running a texting program in which a large number of volunteers were texting voters in Illinois’ 3rd District encouraging people to vote for Lipinski in the primary. Clancy denied that anyone at No Labels is not pushing the slur that Newman is a holocaust denier.
“A volunteer must have confused Marie Newman with Arthur Jones and that is really all there is to say here,” Clancy said in an email to Patch. “Any suggestion by the Newman campaign or anyone else that this is an organized campaign to defame her is complete nonsense.”
Screenshots of texts accusing Marie Newman of being a ‘Holocaust denier.’