CHICAGO -- Sen. Bernie Sanders has endorsed Marie Newman in the Democratic primary for the Chicago-area seat held by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski.

Sanders said Thursday Newman "has made it clear she will be a champion for working families" and will fight for issues such as a $15 minimum wage and gay rights.

Lipinski, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, is seeking his eighth term in the March 20 primary.

He says he's delivered for his district, and calls Newman and her supporters a "tea party of the left" that will hurt the Democratic party.

Also Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported Newman and her husband went into business in 2014 with a felon who'd served prison time for a mortgage fraud scheme. Newman says they were unaware of the conviction and ended their involvement when they learned of it.