* This lede makes little sense when put into a strictly local context…
Dan Lipinski is the kind of candidate Democrats need more of for the party to win the House in November. But the national Democratic Party is refusing to endorse him.
The seven-term congressman from Chicago, who opposes abortion and voted against Obamacare, marriage equality and immigration reform, is one of the most conservative members of the House Democratic Caucus.
Do the national Democrats need a conservative like Lipinski in order to hold that particular seat in November? No. The district is solidly Democratic and the Republican nominee this year will be a Holocaust denier. The only reason the DCCC or the DNC should step in here is if they know something about Marie Newman that we don’t. I mean, it’s not like Lipinski has been overly generous with his time and money to the DCCC over the years.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez was pressed by MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt earlier this month whether there’s room in the party for Democrats who oppose abortion rights, and why he wasn’t supporting Lipinski even though he’s an incumbent. “One thing I’ve learned from primaries in the past is that when the DNC gets involved in those races, then we sometimes get accused of trying to put the thumb on the scale,” Perez responded.
Ain’t that the truth.
A just-spawned super PAC, “Citizens for a Better Illinois,” last week spent $412,556 to produce ads opposing Lipinski, according to Federal Election Commission records. […]
And “United for Progress, Inc., created in 2017 — with mega donations from three Chicago area contributors — reported last week spending $37,767 on direct mail designed to re-elect Lipinski. […]
FEC records show the 2017 mega donors to “United for Progress” include $200,000 from White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf; $100,000 from Craig Duchossois, the chairman and chief executive officer of The Duchossois Group, and $100,000 from Jim Frank, the CEO and president of Wheels.
Neither group has reported any spending that I can find since that report was published last week, but I’m not yet adept at dealing with the new FEC website.
* Also from last week…
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski was put on the defensive again by Democratic primary challenger Marie Newman at a Wednesday night forum, with Newman throwing barbs at Lipinski over campaign financing and his ties to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.
It was the first time the incumbent and challenger met on a public stage, and Newman packed the crowd of more than 400 with boisterous supporters at a League of Women Voters event hosted at Moraine Valley Community College, the heart of the hotly contested 3rd Congressional District that covers most of Chicago’s Southwest Side and the southwest suburbs. […]
The congressman touted his efforts of bringing $375 million to the district for infrastructure projects, as well as his efforts to work on bipartisan immigration legislation. He cautioned against a move to the left, saying it would only add to “bickering and gridlock” in Washington.
“Having a Tea Party of the Left, that makes promises about all these things that can happen magically — it’s not going to work,” he said. “They’re fantasies. We need to be willing to sit down and work together.”
He makes a valid point.
* Ted Slowik was at the debate…
In all my years covering elections, I’ve never seen so many people at an event fired up about a race. A league spokeswoman told me 538 people attended. TV crews recorded the action, journalists occupied all the seats at a press table and several photographers documented the event.
The contest is getting a lot of national attention. Many consider the race a bellwether of a potentially significant power struggle between the establishment and progressive wings of the Democratic Party .
There were protests and disruptions. As Lipinski answered a question about campaign finance reform, a man in the audience stood and shouted in protest before walking out. At other times, people interrupted responses with shouts from the audience and the moderator appealed for order.
Lipinski acknowledged that the progressive base is spoiling for a fight with the president, and was quick to tout votes against Obamacare repeal and the GOP tax plan, his longtime support for gun control, environmental protections and his endorsement from the AFL-CIO. But he argued that Democrats shouldn’t cast out moderates like himself.
“It’s understandable that people are as incensed by Trump as I am, the things he has done and said. It’s important, though, that we do not form a Tea Party of the left, I think that’s detrimental to the party,” he said. “We’re in a position where we’re down 24 seats in the House, we’ve lost 1000 seats across the country since 2010, and we need to make sure we’re a big tent party, not closing down. That’s not good.”
Again, while he makes a valid point, it’s not necessary to have a conservative Dem to win that particular district.
For months, Democrats looked at Newman and saw yet another candidate who would probably come up short. Lipinski ended 2017 with $1.7 million to spend; Newman ended it with $237,000. The Democrats who run nearly every office in the district endorsed Lipinski, as did the AFL-CIO. The bitterly contested primary for governor promised that rank-and-file Democrats, familiar with the Lipinski brand, would be turning out on March 20.
That changed last month, after local Democrats saw polling that found Newman gaining on the incumbent. On Jan. 17, two of Lipinski’s liberal colleagues, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), endorsed Newman at a news conference in Washington. Gutierrez ripped into Lipinski for opposing the Dream Act, which would provide protections for many young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children; Schakowsky asked why Chicago’s blue suburbs still had an antiabortion congressman. […]
In the following weeks, Newman became a bona fide liberal cause. The state branch of the Service Employees International Union backed her, as did Emily’s List, which liberals had criticized for not endorsing Newman sooner. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) scheduled a fundraiser for Newman; Planned Parenthood jumped in against a congressman who “time and time again tried to take away women’s access to health care.” […]
Some Lipinski supporters are trying to raise the specter of disaster for another reason. Catholic Vote, a decade-old conservative nonprofit group, sent representatives to the forum this month to talk about its church-driven voter push and the risk of ousting a pro-life Democrat. The antiabortion Susan B. Anthony List, which largely supports Republicans, has bundled more than $40,000 for Lipinski and readied a voter persuasion campaign to brand Newman as a pro-abortion extremist.
* Lipinski: ‘I’m not that vulnerable’: Lipinski argues they’ve got that wrong, saying “Bernie won the district because he stood for middle class Americans, working men and women against these bad trade deals and I think that’s exactly why I have been successful because I have never lost that focus.” While taping Connected to Chicago for Sunday night at 7, Lipinski had a new idea to protect people from the mentally ill who shouldn’t have guns. Create a new kind of order of protection that people can go to court to get to disarm them.