One of the Last Remaining Anti-Abortion Democrats Faces a Challenger

Illinois Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski easily won his reelection campaign in 2018 – it helps when you’re running against a literal Nazi – but that doesn’t mean he’s safe for 2020. Once again, Lipinski will be facing a Democratic primary challenger, and this time she may well unseat him and nab the nomination.

Lipinski has been representing the congressional district that includes Chicago since 2004, but his reign almost came to an end in 2018 when businesswoman Marie Newman challenged him for the party nomination.

Lipinski is one of the last remaining members of the Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats — a small band of centrist Democrats who oppose immigration, the Affordable Care Act, abortion, LGBTQ rights and a number of other issues allegedly at the center of Democratic policy. While many of the Blue Dogs remaining in Congress come from very conservative districts, the same can’t be said for Lipinski, who represents a fairly progressive area of Illinois. That makes it ripe picking for a Democrat who actually stands with the left on social issues.

And that was a case that Newman very nearly made in the last election, when she challenged Lipiniski for the party nomination. Despite Lipinski’s long career in Congress and massive campaign spending, Newman almost managed an upset during the Illinois primary. Lipinski got barely 51 percent of the Democratic vote, an embarrassing result for a longtime incumbent.

Of course, it’s far easier to win a primary when those across the aisle are ready to jump in and vote for you.

Lipinski — a favorite of the anti-abortion movement — received the endorsement and on-the-ground support of the Susan B. Anthony List, which organized canvassing and other get-out-the-vote efforts on his behalf.

In a press release after Lipinski’s primary win, the organization reported:

SBA List’s six-figure GOTV effort reached more than 23,000 voters ahead of Election Day. The group’s team of 70 canvassers, including SBA List staff and students from nearby universities, visited 17,000 pro-life Democrat households in the district in the final days of the race as part of a campaign that also included digital ads and voter contact mail.

And other anti-abortion groups actively urged their Republican base members to forgo voting in Republican primary and pull Democratic ballots to help, too. All of the assistance clearly paid off for a Democrat who has been a GOP ally in the fight to end Obamacare, block abortion access and defund Planned Parenthood. Lipinsky even attends their events in order to shore up Republican support and assure them he is on their side in Washington.

Even after Lipinski narrowly beat Newman, Republicans continued to support him and his candidacy. Texas Senator Ted Cruz offered “permission” to all Republicans to cast ballots for the Democratic nominee, pointing out that the only other person on the ballot was Nazi Arthur Jones.

Cruz conveniently left out the fact that a Nazi won the state GOP’s nomination because Republicans were already happy enough with Lipinski on the ticket that they didn’t see the need to run anyone who could actually mount a challenge against the congressman.

With a far more ambitious landscape to protect in the 2020 elections, it seems very unlikely that the Susan B. Anthony List or other rightwing interest groups will feel the need to invest in the Illinois Democratic primary, regardless of how much loyalty they feel they owe Lipinski. And that makes this next race a much better opportunity for Newman to unseat the incumbent, undoubtedly the reason that the businesswoman is back for a rematch.

In a Twitter announcement, Newman stated:

We deserve a representative who will vote like a real Democrat in Congress — not someone who routinely sides with (President Donald) Trump and conservative interest groups over his own constituents. This isn’t going to be easy. Machine politics. Deep-pocketed special interests. Conservative D.C. insiders. They’re all lining up to shut us down before we can get started. They don’t scare me.

Whatever happens in the primary, this seat will still remain in Democratic hands come election day. But maybe, finally, the person holding it will vote like a Democrat, too.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

38 comments

Beth L
Alice L13 days ago

Thank you

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Carla G
Carla G18 days ago

thank you for sharing

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Janis K
Janis K19 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo C
Leo C19 days ago

thank you for sharing!

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Elaine W
Elaine W22 days ago

I hope a Democratic liberal steps up.

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Karen H
Karen H23 days ago

Our politicians have to learn that they can't follow THEIR personal agenda. They serve the people - ALL of the people. So, whatever their agenda, it has to be put aside while they serve US.

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Janis K
Janis K23 days ago

Hope he is replaced by a liberal democrat!

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E23 days ago

@ vasu murti
I see you're back "selling" your book. Wrong forum !!

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry K23 days ago

Noted

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Debbi W
Debbi W24 days ago

I sincerely hope another democrat steps up to run against Dan Lipinski, who has hateful views about abortion. He should join the GOP, where he belongs.

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