Congressional candidate Marie Newman
Congressional candidate Marie Newman (Campaign photo)

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.

As Wikipedia notes:

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.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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