Progressive Candidate Marie Newman Unseats Anti-LGBTQ, Anti-Abortion Dem Lipinski

(Facebook/Marie Newman for Congress)
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March 18, 2020 12:16 p.m.

Marie Newman, the progressive candidate in Illinois’ Democratic primary, beat incumbent conservative Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) during the state’s elections on Tuesday night.

“I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition that helped bring about much needed change in our district,” Newman said in a statement. “We are going to work together to lower health care costs, to fight climate change, and to build an economy that works for everyone.”

She will face off against GOP candidate Mike Fricilone in November. But with Lipinski’s seat secured in Illinois’ reliably blue 3rd congressional district, Newman’s victory on Tuesday almost certainly guarantees that she will be the district’s new representative come 2021.

Lipinski, who has been in office since 2005, often bucked his party’s left-leaning stances, having voted against abortion rights, the Affordable Care Act and LGBTQ rights. He also declined to endorse President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

But despite the Illinois congressman’s conservative record, the Democratic establishment has thrown its support behind him.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the party’s top fundraising arm, boosted Lipinski’s reelection campaign. DCCC chair Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) had planned to attend one of his fundraising events last year, then cancelled her scheduled appearance after receiving backlash for the move.

Bustos stood by her support for Lipinski, however, citing the DCCC’s mission of backing all incumbents to “protect our big tent Democratic caucus.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) made a similar comment amid the controversy over Lipinski, saying that anti-abortion lawmakers are “absolutely” welcome in the pro-choice party.

The conservative Democrat also benefited from the DCCC’s new policy of blacklisting vendors who work with Democratic primary challengers, which Newman claimed had cost her several campaign staffers.

On Wednesday, Bustos issued a response thanking Lipinski for his “tireless service” and stating that she had reached out to Newman to congratulate her.

“I know Marie will be a strong voice on behalf of working people in her community, and I look forward to working with her to deliver results for families in our state,” the DCCC chair said.

In her fight against Lipinski, Newman enjoyed the support of high-profile progressive advocacy groups and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who similarly defeated a party establishment favorite in an upset primary race in 2018.

This post has been updated with Bustos’ statement.

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