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DCCC chairman vows not to impose abortion ‘litmus test’ for House Democratic candidates

People carry pro-life signs past a pro-abortion sticker on Jan. 27 in Washington, D.C. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Hill in an interview published Monday that the organization will not withhold funding for pro-life Democratic candidates in 2018. (Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The Hill in an interview published Monday that the organization will not withhold funding for pro-life Democratic House candidates in 2018.

Luján vowed not to impose “litmus tests” on candidates as the party seeks to regain control of the House in the midterm election.

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” Luján told The Hill.

Luján said the party must cast a wide net for candidates in 2018, which includes pro-lifers.

“To pick up 24 [seats] and get to 218, that is the job,” he said. “We’ll need a broad coalition to get that done. We are going to need all of that, we have to be a big family in order to win the House back.”

Luján’s DCCC position is a departure from that held by Tom Perez, the head of the Democratic National Committee, who said earlier this year that the party’s pro-choice position was “non-negotiable.”

In the wake of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s loss, prominent Democratic lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), have expressed openness to supporting pro-life Democratic candidates. Former Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made headlines earlier this year for campaigning with a pro-life Democratic mayoral candidate. Pelosi, Schumer, and Sanders are all staunchly pro-choice.

Mitchell Stille, a spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice America, told The Hill, “Throwing weight behind anti-choice candidates is bad politics that will lead to worse policy.”

“The idea that jettisoning this issue wins elections for Democrats is folly contradicted by all available data,” Stille said.

Pro-life activists applauded Luján’s remarks.

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