Representative Lauren Underwood (D., Ill.) said at an event on Monday that “no one” running for the Democratic presidential nomination would be helpful to her in the 2020 general elections.
“Some people are neutral and some people are not and no one in my opinion that’s running on the Democratic ticket is helpful to me in my race,” Underwood told an audience at the City Club of Chicago, responding to a question about whether the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) would hurt down-ticket Democrats in November. Underwood’s response drew a murmur from the crowd.
“I guess that’s controversial,” Underwood said when she perceived the audience’s reaction. “I view [the] presidential candidates as neutral at best or very difficult at worst.”
Underwood represents Illinois’s 14th congressional district, which traditionally votes Republican. The freshman representative managed in 2018 to unseat three-term incumbent Representative Randy Hultgren, a Republican, by five percentage points.
Sanders, the most progressive candidate in the Democratic primaries, is leading the race after winning the Nevada Caucuses and New Hampshire Primary, while taking a close second place in the Iowa Caucuses. The Vermont senator’s rise in the primaries is worrying more moderate Democrats who feel President Trump will defeat him in the November elections.
Sanders has also caused controversy among Florida Democrats following his repeated praise of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Florida has one of the largest concentrations of Cuban immigrants in the U.S., many of them refugees who fled the communist country.
“I find Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on Castro’s Cuba absolutely unacceptable. The Castro regime murdered and jailed dissidents, and caused unspeakable harm to too many South Florida families,” Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D., Fla.) tweeted on Monday. “To this day, it remains an authoritarian regime that oppresses its people, subverts the free press, and stifles a free society.”