The co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said Democratic recruits who are for restricting abortion rights are as unwelcome as racists.
In a New York Times Magazine feature on the Democratic Party's struggles after Barack Obama's presidency, Adam Green of the PCCC made it clear where he stood on the debate over whether Democrats should run candidates in 2018 who are anti-abortion in more conservative districts.
"We wouldn’t welcome candidates who are pushing anti-choice policies into the big tent any more than we would welcome racists and people who want to deregulate Wall Street," he said.
The statement comes in the wake of a fierce debate where party leaders have struck different tones on the sensitive social issue. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.) said in July there was no "litmus test" for candidates on abortion.
DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly responded to liberal fury at Luján's remark by calling abortion rights one of the "fundamental tenets" of the party.
Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez also said in April there was no room for pro-life candidates in the party.
"Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and her health," Perez said in a statement. "That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state."
That put him at odds with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), a Catholic who supports abortion rights, but who said "of course" Democrats could be pro-life.
Democrats face a choice in 2018 over whether they want to run purely liberal candidates across the country or try to recruit candidates more in tune with their districts.
Rahm Emanuel chaired the DCCC during the wildly successful 2006 midterms, when the Democrats took back a majority in the House and made Pelosi the Speaker of the House. However, he was criticized by some on his left flank for sacrificing ideology for strategy.
"I would just point to the fact that Rahm Emanuel’s Democrats who won in 2006 couldn’t hold those seats," PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor said.
Indeed, Republicans took back the majority in the 2010 Tea Party wave and have not relinquished it. National polling shows 2018 is a golden opportunity for Democrats, however, particularly with the historic unpopularity of President Donald Trump.