Bernie Sanders may be falling short in his quest for the 2020 Democratic nomination, but progressive activists in Illinois have succeeded in ousting an entrenched incumbent Democratic member of the U.S. House who opposes reproductive rights. Congressman Dan Lipinski, fifty-three, has failed to secure renomination in Illinois’ 3rd District. The Democratic Party will instead be represented this November by progressive challenger Marie Newman:
Newman held more than 47% of the vote over Lipinski’s nearly 45%, putting the LaGrange challenger closer to toppling a south suburban political dynasty that dates back nearly four decades. It was enough for Newman to declare victory over the eight-term incumbent.
“This campaign has always been about workers and working people and advocating for better healthcare and an economy that works for everybody,” Newman said in a statement.
“I look forward to working with this amazing coalition over the next seven months to continue spreading that message.”
But Lipinski wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.
“As we close this evening, there are still votes to be counted in this race,” Lipinski said in a statement.
“It is very close. We may have to wait overnight or into the morning for the final vote count. I want to thank everyone for their support. Please stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families.”
Two years ago, Newman lost to Lipinski by the slimmest of margins. This time around, it appears that she will prevail. There are votes still left to count, but not many, and Lipinski would need a miracle to overcome his deficit.
Lipinski’s father Bill represented the district from 1983 to 2005 and Dan has held it ever since. It is a solidly Democratic district. Now, for the first time in decades, it will not be represented by someone from the Lipinski family.
It is important to note that Lipinski isn’t just opposed to women’s reproductive rights. He calls himself a Democrat, but he does not act or vote like one.
He did not endorse President Barack Obama for reelection in 2012, opposes legalized abortion and stem cell research, was the only House Democrat from Illinois to vote against the Patient Protection Act, supported reauthorizing the Patriot Act in 2006, and supported the Defense of Marriage and First Amendment Defense Acts.
If Lipinski represented a deep red district, his lack of support for Democratic and progressive causes would not be so egregious. But he represents a blue district and has no excuse for depriving his constituents of progressive representation, organizations like Indivisible and Democracy For America say.
“Congratulations to Marie Newman! This is a big night for the progressive movement, scoring a win in one of the most important primaries of 2020. This race has big implications for what it means to be a Democrat in the Trump era,” tweeted Indivisible’s national account, adding her campaign hashtag #NewDayinIL03.
“I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition that helped bring about much needed change in our district,” Newman tweeted after results became available. “We are going to work together to lower health care costs, to fight climate change, and to build an economy that works for everyone.”