Eight-term Democrat incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski lost in the primary to an ultra-left challenger who came close to unseating him in 2018.
Marie Newman, owner of a marketing company and an up-and-coming voice of the far left, eked out a narrow victory over Lipinski, who had held the seat in Congress since 2005. His father, Bill Lipinski, had represented the district since 1983.
In truth, the character of the district had changed dramatically since 2010, when it was redrawn to include some of the more liberal suburbs in Dupage County. And Lipinski, who was one of the last pro-life Democrats and an unabashed supporter of Israel, had fallen out of favor with the radical left in Washington. They had been gunning for him for years.
The younger Lipinski had not faced a serious election challenge since taking office before Newman’s upstart campaign in 2018. However, some Democrats believe he is not in line with his party in Illinois and Washington, and Newman nearly rode a surge of progressive support to victory two years ago before finally pulling off a win on Tuesday.
Newman, who owns her own marketing company, has said Lipinski is too conservative, especially on issues such as abortion, health care, and immigration; and has slammed him for his votes against Obamacare, and the DREAM Act to provide a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.
Earlier this year, Lipinski was under fire for signing onto amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade.
Planned Parenthood Illinois Action denounced Lipinksi for signing onto the amicus brief.
Newman isn’t an outright supporter of BDS, but she has made clear she supports the Palestinians’ “right of return” and that aid to Israel should be conditioned on Israeli settlement policies. With a large Palestinian presence in the district, her candidacy was seen as pro-Palestinian, although she denied that charge.
Lipinsky has yet to concede. He trails by more than 2,000 votes with nearly 99 percent of the vote counted, so there’s not much hope for a miracle.
The Lipinski-Newman race shows just how far left the Democratic Party has lurched in the last decade. The incumbent is pretty much a run-of-the-mill liberal who routinely took 70 percent of the primary and general election vote. While the Jewish vote in the district is small, it used to be much larger when the lines were drawn further north along the Chicago lakefront. Then, the district included many Polish Catholics — pro-life and culturally conservative.
But when the lines were last drawn, Lipinski lost most of that base and was shuttled south. He still represents a small part of the city of Chicago, but the bulk of his district is now far more suburban and ethnically diverse, with Arabs, Hispanics, and white working-class voters.
Newman will be matched against Will County board member Mike Fricilone in November.*
*In an earlier version of this article, I misidentified Newman’s GOP opponent.