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Did DNC Chair’s Pro-Choice Statements Sink a Pro-Life Dem in Omaha?

After Democratic candidate Heath Mello lost his race to be Omaha’s next mayor, some on his team are blaming DNC Chair Tom Perez.

Tom Perez DNC

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez’s statement that the issue of abortion “is not negotiable” in the Democratic Party may have sunk the mayoral campaign of Democrat Heath Mello in Omaha, Nebraska, according to some on Mello’s team.

Mello lost to Republican Jean Stohert by almost seven points in last week’s election, one that national Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) had hoped would be a win for the anti-Trump ‘resistance.’

After the loss, though, some on Mello’s team are griping that Perez’s confusing statements during the race, on whether the Democratic Party will support pro-life candidates, contributed to Mello’s loss.

From The Atlantic:

A race against an incumbent Republican mayor in a state Trump won handily would not have been easy for any Democratic candidate, but a source close to the Mello campaign argued that backlash from pro-choice activists and Perez’s statement that the party should speak “with one voice” on the issue of abortion, hurt Mello by opening him up to attack from national progressive groups and Republicans in Nebraska all at the same time.

The debate rages on in the party. Sanders-wing progressives seem willing to support candidates that are progressive on economic issues, even if they are conservative on social issues. Some establishment Democrats, though, like Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), support a ‘purity test‘ of sorts for Democratic candidates.

The needless fight in Omaha (why is the DNC weighing in on a mayoral race in Nebraska to begin with?) previews what may be a key litmus test for Democratic candidates in 2018 and 2020.