By Steve Metsch
A rematch two years in the making happens on March 17, leaving one green with envy on St. Patrick’s Day.
Cong. Daniel Lipinski and challenger Marie Newman, who lost by 2,145 votes to him in 2018, are squaring off again in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District.
Charles Hughes and Rush Darwish also seek the Dem nod.
On the Republican side, Art Jones, of Lyons, is running against Will County Board member Mike Fricilone, and Catherine O’Shea, of O’Shea Realty in Oak Lawn.
While the Republican race is interesting — Jones has links to the American Nazi Party — it’s the Democrats who catch the eye, as the primary winner is expected to win in November.
Newman, of LaGrange, and Lipinski, of Western Springs, both say their campaigns are going well. Each is racking up endorsements. Each feels confident.
“I do feel more positive, but anything can happen in the last two weeks,” Newman said on Feb. 28.
Newman said Lipinski is “out of alignment with the district,” with his “more conservative” platform.
“The district needs a real Democrat with a real plan with real solutions. Dan has never written a plan for the district and frequently goes against our interests,” Newman said.
Lipinski said he’s “a common-sense representative” who has brought lots of federal funding to the district for businesses and infrastructure improvements.
He noted that recently it was announced that $150 million is coming to address a longtime traffic nightmare, the railroad crossing at 65th and 63rd streets, just east of Harlem. One of those will see either a viaduct or an overpass to alleviate waits that can last up to 30 minutes, Lipinski said.
“I work with the constituents, help to first focus on taking care of the problems in the district, work with the mayors to bring improvements to the district,” Lipinski said.
“I’ve focused on pocketbook issues of jobs, lowering the price of health care and taking care of middle-class Americans who need the support and help to make it today.”
Newman is “extreme” and is “following an agenda that comes from outside the district,” he said. Her “progressive, extreme policy position would raise our taxes.”
Lipinski, 53, a Type 1 diabetic for 30 years, helped sponsor a bill to lower prescription drugs. He did not vote for the Affordable Care Act, which “did nothing about lowering the cost of health care.”
Health care is “the most important issue people are facing today,” he said, noting, “the price of insulin has for no good reason skyrocketed the past 10 years.”
A big issue underlying the race has been abortion. Lipinski is pro-life, Newman is pro-choice. Lipinski said Newman is funded by “extremist abortion groups.”
Asked if abortion will decide the race, Newman, 55, said “the choice issue is important, but you can’t get inside the voter’s head.”
Health care, income inequality and immigration have been the most-discussed issues at 304 meet-and-greets she’s done.
Asked about being called “extreme” by Lipinski, Newman said that “no matter who it is, he says they are extreme ... I literally don’t understand what he’s saying.”
“I’m the real Democrat,” Newman said.
Some of the things on Newman’s agenda from her website include: The $15 per hour minimum wage; create a transportation and infrastructure plan to include green jobs and repairs; a progressive tax on “ultra-millionaires;” Medicare for all; reduce prescription prices by allowing purchasing from countries more cost-effective like Canada; and develop a required trades vocational inductor program starting in the seventh grade.
Lipinski considers himself “a problem-solver who brings people together.”
“It doesn’t matter to me if they are Democrats or Republicans. I represent all my constituents, not just my Democrat constituents. My opponents are more interested in national issues,” Lipinski said.
On the Republican side, Fricilone said that one reason he decided to run is he can’t stomach the idea of Jones winning the GOP nomination.
“He’s out there,” Fricilone, of Homer Glen, said.
Fricilone, who worked on the “Build Will” financial plan that has built new county buildings without raising taxes, said he’s got the background needed to serve the district.
“My plan is to continue on with my pro-life agenda,” said Fricilone who grew up in Chicago’s Garfield Ridge community. He expects he will run against Newman in November.
Jones, the GOP nominee two years ago, said, if elected, his priority would be getting our troops out of the Middle East, adding that President Trump “takes his orders from (Israel Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”
Despite repeated attempts, Hughes, Darwish and O’Shea could not be reached for comment.