The Democratic National Committee and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are under fire for supporting a mayoral candidate with a mixed record on abortion, highlighting divisions within the party even as the DNC seeks to mend fences with its high-profile unity tour.
The tour, which kicked off Monday, seemed to get off to a rocky start. But the biggest bump came when progressives began withdrawing support for Omaha, Nebraska mayoral candidate Heath Mello after discovering that, as a Nebraska state senator eight years ago, he supported legislation to require women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion.
Sanders and DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison — subbing in for DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who has headlined others legs of the cross-country unity tour with Sanders — will hold a rally in Omaha Thursday evening to support Mello, a Democrat challenging the city’s incumbent GOP mayor.
DailyKos, the liberal blog that helped Democrat Jon Ossoff raise millions in Georgia’s special congressional election, withdrew its endorsement of Mello Thursday morning.
And NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released a statement excoriating the national party for embracing Mello.
“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid. Today’s action make this so-called ‘fight back tour’ look more like a throw back tour for women and our rights,” Hogue said.
Contradicting initial reports — and Mello’s campaign manager — Planned Parenthood of Nebraska said they never gave Mello a stellar rating. “Planned Parenthood Voters of…