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Catching up with the Lipinski-Newman primary

Monday, Feb 26, 2018

* 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.

* More

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.

* Meanwhile

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.

* WaPo

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.

* Related…

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - LXB - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 2:33 pm:

    That Politico lede is head-spinning for a straight news piece.

  2. - Nuke the Whales - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 2:43 pm:

    While Lipinski’s ideology certainly hasn’t helped, this blurb from the Tribune explains everything about why Newman is getting help where others could not.
    One side note: Lipinski dispatched help to Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar in his re-election bid after being challenged over his support and fundraising help for President Donald Trump. With mail-in ballots still to be counted, Claar appeared to narrowly hold on to win. (From

  3. - I live in Lipinski's District - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    Look, our district is not a hotbed of progressive Democratic politics. Just drive around Burbank or Oak Lawn. It is blue collar and struggling middle class. Labor issues outweigh importance of other issues and Lipinski has generally represented these issues well. Marie Newman packed the debate, which I was in attendance, but that doesn’t mean that sample represents our average voter. I was thinking that a sizeable portion of those in attendance won’t be able to vote in this district anyway.

    I was surprised when Marie Newman was critical against Madigan. That was a big step, because our congressional district includes much of Madigan’s turf. The race became interesting at this point.

    Marie Newman may be further to the left than her district. And Lipinski further to the right of his constituents.

  4. - Dee Lay - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 2:56 pm:

    This is going to be a lot tighter for Lipinski then he would like.

    For Newman to have a chance, it comes down to turnout, turnout, turnout.

  5. - State Sen. Clay Davis - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    Any conservative man vs. a progressive woman in a 2018 Democratic primary should be worried.

  6. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    I noted on Fred Klonsky’s always informative blog a photo from over the weekend of some Lipinski and Ives supporters in some kind of huddle. What a surprise.

  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:17 pm:

    I think district goes at least 60-40 for Lipinski. Looking at the makeup of this district, I just don’t see the path to victory for Newman.

  8. - State Sen. Clay Davis - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    @- Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:12 pm:

    How does that even work? Voters can’t vote for both of those people

  9. - PJ - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Lipinski’s point is dumb. We don’t need a “tea party of the left” in that we don’t need a block of obstructionists who are against everything and for nothing.

    But the solution to America’s legislative gridlock is not “send a bunch of conservative Dems to negotiate with the ultra-conservative Republican caucus”. It might be news to Dan, but the “regular Republican” bills you’d end up with in that negotiating room don’t actually reflect the will of this country, or certainly of his own district.

  10. - Roman - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:33 pm:

    == Marie Newman may be further to the left than her district. And Lipinski further to the right of his constituents. ==

    Absolutely correct.

    If it is close, Jeanne Ives could be Newman’s secret weapon. She’s gonna keep thousands of right-to-lifers from crossing over to support Lipinski.

    My favorite part of the Politico story is Jan Schakowsky saying the race is a “local” isssue for her. Local? LOL. Jan couldn’t find the corner of 95th and Ridgeland with Mapquest and a Sherpa showing her the way.

  11. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    Senator, I have no idea. Perhaps they’re all assuming they survive the primary?

  12. - Soothsayer - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:39 pm:

    There are a handful of Indivisible groups in the 3rd District that have become very active and engaged. Marie Newman is their candidate and as such they endorsed her; the first endorsement by any Indivisibles in the country. They are canvassing and writing postcards for Newman. This election will be a test of just how powerful these grassroots organizations are. Burbank, Oak Lawn, and the 13th ward may be firmly in Lipinski’s corner but La Grange and Western Springs are not. We shall see who turns out in the district.

  13. - Rutro - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:48 pm:

    @ PJ, isn’t that how his dad got the Orangeline?

  14. - Soothsayer - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 3:57 pm:

    Lots of Ives and Lipinski signs in the same yard in the 3rd. If I were those pro-life homeowners and I had to choose between voting for Lipinski and against Rauner, I would like vote against Rauner.

  15. - Practical Politics - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:04 pm:

    This is an area where “bipartisanship” meant the same activists and donors buying tickets for the late Judy Baar Topinka (R) and State Senator Martin Sandoval (D) fund raisers held on the same dates. Bill Lipinski played well in Cicero when it was “Republican.”

  16. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:07 pm:

    Union support vs Progressive support- the AFL-CIO endorsed Lipinski
    Back in the day when Dems were fully on the side of the unions that right there would be enough to not challenge an incumbent legislator.
    Apparently Jan doesn’t think so?
    It kept Dems away from McAuliffe for years and made his seat untouchable. Once McAuliffe flipped it became game on.
    Maybe because unions couldn’t flip McAuliffe the Progressive’s figured out they shouldn’t respect anymore?

  17. - ArchPundit - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    56-43, 55-40 in the last two Presidential Elections towards the Democratic candidates. It’s not the district from the 1980s. I don’t know if Newman will win, let’s be honest about this district being a safe Democratic district.

  18. - ArchPundit - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:23 pm:

    ====the AFL-CIO endorsed Lipinski

    SEIU and IFT endorsed Newman.

    Let’s also remember the district is 1/3 Latino and it Lipinski has a horrible record on immigration for Democrats until last year when he realized he had to worry about a primary. He’s awful on LGBT issues as well.

  19. - ProduceMan - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 4:47 pm:

    Dan Lipinski is a symbol of out of touch and unresponsive politics starting from how he got the job. His father retired from the seat after the Democratic primary and arranged for local committeemen to apoint Dan the Democratic candidate. Lipinski is an unaccomplished product of nepotism who tried to derail Obamacare.

  20. - Illinois Resident - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:10 pm:

    Lipinski is a DINO and not an actual democrat. He should run on the republican ticket with the views that he has. The cannabis legalization question to him was a complete dodge saying that it was not an important topic. Hey Dan, yet it is to a lot of people in this state.

  21. - Mike - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:21 pm:

    As soon as Lipinski started describing himself in mailers as a “progressive,” it was the beginning of the end.

  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:26 pm:

    ==Burbank, Oak Lawn, and the 13th ward may be firmly in Lipinski’s corner but La Grange and Western Springs are not==

    Western Springs, I heard is Republican-land. Nope, not progressive territory. La Grange is an outlier for this district.

  23. - Soothsayer - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 5:46 pm:

    Anonymous, how many Republicans are pulling Dem primary ballots? Drive through the southern parts of La Grange and Western Springs. There are more Newman signs than Durkin and Lipinski signs combined.

  24. - Crossover - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 6:29 pm:

    Isn’t Lipinski accepting GOP sponsored fundraising? I heard he was, and I’m sure others know If that’s true.

  25. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 6:31 pm:

    Good point, this is a dem primary. My intended point is that Western Springs is not a progressive stronghold. Just the opposite. In several other parts of this district, I only see only Lipinski signs.

  26. - Well Actually - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 7:02 pm:

    ==Isn’t Lipinski accepting GOP sponsored fundraising?==

  27. - DuPage Bard - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 7:03 pm:

    Isn’t Jeanne Ives accepting Madigan fundraising? I heard she was, and I’m sure others know if that’s true.
    Isn’t Charlie Meier accepting Madigan fundraising> I heard he was, and I’m sure others know if that’s true.
    See how easy that is to play a bogus card?
    Nice attempt at spinning the rumor mill.

  28. - Jim - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 7:18 pm:

    Lawn signs don’t vote.

  29. - Graduated College Student - Monday, Feb 26, 18 @ 8:13 pm:

    ==56-43, 55-40 in the last two Presidential Elections towards the Democratic candidates. It’s not the district from the 1980s. I don’t know if Newman will win, let’s be honest about this district being a safe Democratic district.===

    In the long run this may be true. In the immediate term, the Republican candidate is, again, literally a Holocaust denier.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Tribune asked 16 mayoral candidates to release tax returns, 6 complied
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Stava-Murray updates
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* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* Yesterday's stories

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