Ocasio-Cortez backs Lipinski opponent

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making her first endorsement of a liberal challenger to an incumbent House Democrat, backing Marie Newman in the primary against eight-term U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski.

The New York congresswoman for now is putting her name and small-dollar fundraising ability behind congressional candidates.

Lipinski, who opposes abortion rights, is among the more conservative Democrats in the House and defeated Newman in a primary last cycle.

By backing a primary opponent to a colleague, Ocasio-Cortez is mounting a campaign strategy that resembles her own political rise last year, when she toppled a House Democratic leader in a stunning primary challenge. It's a flex of power for the freshman lawmaker but also one that makes colleagues wary. Last week Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey.

Justice Democrats announced the endorsement Tuesday.