Photo by Steve Metsch
Cong. Dan Lipinski, with wife Judy, is all smiles after winning another two years in Congress.
By Steve Metsch
Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), who easily rolled to victory Tuesday past a white supremacist Republican and three write-in longshots, made a plea during his victory speech for a return to civility in our country.
“We need to change the way people talk to each other and about each other in this country. We’re divided into two tribes. This is terrible for our country,” said Lipinski, who won his first term in Congress in November 2004.
“We hear too much fear-mongering going on, too much divisiveness. It starts at the top, No matter if you’re running the country or you’re sitting in your home at home with social media, people need to respect one another, to treat one another with dignity. Our country is more important than anything else,” Lipinski said in the clubhouse at Flagg Creek Golf Course around 9 p.m.
Lipinski easily outdistanced Republican candidate Arthur Jones, a Lyons man with ties to Neo-Nazi organizations; and three write-in candidates, Richard Mayers, Oak Lawn dentist Kenneth Yerkes and La Grange attorney Justin Hanson.
“Congratulations to Cong. Lipinski for another term,” Hanson said. “I hope he and his family and his staff have a good night and I wish him good luck.”
The voice mail was filled and unable to take messages on Yerkes’ cellphone.
Lipinski never mentioned Jones. But Hanson said he was happy the Republican Jones got fewer votes than had been projected by some, “and proud of our team for taking votes away from him.”
“I saw he was expected to get around 32 percent,” Hanson said. “He got less than that.”
According to unofficial results from the Cook County Clerk’s office, with 245 of 252 precincts counted Lipinski had 71 percent of the vote and Jones had 29 percent. In Will County, Lipinski led, 60 to 38 with 2 percent for write-ins.
“It’s a good day when we don’t elect a Nazi to Congress,” Hanson said.
Tuesday night’s party was subdued compared with the March primary that saw Lipinski claiming a narrow win after a bitter, heated battle with Democratic newcomer Marie Newman. On that tense night, he didn’t speak until 11:20 p.m., and even then didn’t claim outright victory.
On Tuesday night, he said, “I’m not going to change. I’m going to be the guy I’ve always been, who works across party lines.
“That’s what we need to continue to do. Thanks for another two years. I’ll go back to work, get things done, but tonight we’ll enjoy the victory,” Lipinski said.
Later, Lipinski said that he heard from voters “who are sick and tired of the divisiveness and are really frustrated by it. It’s going to take leadership to work to bring people together.
“It certainly starts at the top, but it goes everywhere. I hope the president will tone it down. We all need to work together. The president talked about an infrastructure bill two years ago, but nothing happened.”
Earlier, Justice Mayor Kris Wasowicz said he was there because “Lipinski is conservative like me, and he is a man of his word.
However, Wasowicz said he is worried that the Democratic party “is going too far to the left.”
“Dan is a conservative. The district is conservative and he represents the district very well,” noting Lipinski helped get plans approved for new exit and entry ramps to the tollway in Justice.
Lipinski said the GOP “moved to the right a few years ago, and I’m afraid the Democratic party is moving too far to the left. We need to work together.”
Steve Palmer, owner of Palmer Place in downtown La Grange, had introduced the Congressmen with “We don’t need a bully in Congress, we need Dan Lipinski.”
After the victory speech, Palmer said he’s been happy with Lipinski representing the 3rd District.
“Dan listens to you. When I call Dan to talk about an issue, whether at the end of the day he’s with me or against what I have to say, he gives me the opportunity to voice my opinion, and lets me know my opinion matters. That’s important to me,” Palmer said.
In his speech, Lipinski had thanked the voters, campaign volunteers, wife Judy, and his parents. His father is former Cong. Bill Lipinski, who stepped down in 2004 after winning the Democratic nomination, opening the door for his son to run for Congress.
“Politics is about helping people, that’s what I learned from my father,” said Lipinski, who added that he also wants to work on improving education “and making health care more affordable.”
It appears this won’t be a one-and-done for Hanson.
The married, 35-year-old father of two has politics in his DNA. His late grandfather, John Oremus, was a long-term mayor of Bridgeview, and he fondly recalls watching him hold court.
Hanson said he will probably again seek office, although he didn’t say which office that may be. “I do think I’m qualified to be elected to a seat in Congress, but not as a write-in candidate, I’ll tell you that.”
Current Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek, who attended the party, said Lipinski has been good for the district and good for the village over the years.