The Democratic primary fight in the 3rd Congressional district between conservative incumbent Dan Lipinski and liberal challenger Marie Newman has become a war of endorsements that reflect their ideology.
Lipinski is regarded as one of the most conservative House Democrats and is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of conservative Democrats. He opposed Obamacare in 2010 and has consistently voted against pro-choice legislation.
Last week, he picked up the endorsements of the mayors of 30 suburbs in the district. That goes along with union endorsements including from the Illinois AFL-CIO.
His opponent in the March 20 primary is more in line with traditional Democratic liberal ideas such as health care, women’s rights, veterans and Medicare.
That has shown itself in the endorsements she has picked up including from two of Lipinski’s more liberal House colleagues from Illinois. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Luis Gutierrez both have endorsed Newman. It’s very rare for congressmen from the same party to back a challenger over one of their own.
She has also picked up support from other Democrats including New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and her Off the Sidelines Political Action Committee.
Newman has some labor support of her own picking up a union endorsement from the National Nurses Association, which cited her views on Medicare as one of the reasons they preferred her to Lipinski.
One of the mayors to endorse Lipinski was the mayor of Newman’s hometown of La Grange, Tom Livingston.
“From his seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Dan Lipinski has played a key role at both the federal and local level in providing parking critical to our downtown revitalization, helping us mitigate flooding, and making rehabilitation of our iconic Stone Avenue station possible with $700,000 in federal money,” Livingston said. “I’m proud to support Dan because he’s delivered for our community.”
In endorsing Lipinski, many of the mayors cited Lipinski’s care for his constituents, accessibility, success leveraging resources and support for local communities, and constituent services.
“As president of the Southwest Conference of Mayors for the past 35 years, I know how important it is to have a Representative who works closely with local elected officials and helps them to take care of their communities,” said Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett. “Dan Lipinski has done just that, working with mayors and other officials to make our communities even better places to live and work.”
Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury also supports Lipinski.
“Congressman Lipinski is an accessible and highly visible representative who listens to our community’s needs and produces results. He has had a real tangible impact in making Oak Lawn an even better place to live, work, and shop by bringing us weekend Metra service, getting a train horn quiet zone added, aiding our first responders in acquiring multiple grants, and helping with revitalization around Patriot Station.”
“Dan Lipinski has been an unending source of support for transportation issues affecting the Village of Bridgeview,” said Mayor Steven Landek.
Mayors from Burbank, Hickory Hills, Justice, Bedford Park, McCook, Willow Springs, Hodgkins, Indian Head Park and Stickney all announced their support for Lipinski.
“I am honored by the overwhelming support of 30 mayors and village presidents from the 3rd Congressional District who back my re-election to Congress,” Lipinski said. “My belief in working to bring people together to solve problems for my constituents encompasses all levels of government. I cooperate closely with local officials because they understand the needs of their communities; in my capacity as a representative I have been very happy to help them build better places for residents to live, work, and raise their families.”
“The choice for working families could not be clearer,” said Terryl Jares, Illinois AFL-CIO vice president, in announcing the endorsement by the 900,000-member union. “Dan Lipinski is a Democrat who embodies our values, fighting to increase the minimum wage, expand parental leave, and protect workers’ rights to organize and bargain.”
Lipinski's lifetime labor scorecard, according to the AFL-CIO, exceeds 90 percent.
The endorsement was highly regarded by Lipinski. “I am honored to once again receive the support of the Illinois AFL-CIO and proud to be recognized as a champion for working families,” he said. “We must continue to fight for the creation of high-quality jobs, better wages, and trade agreements that benefit American workers.”
Newman has said she was running against Lipinski, who was first elected in 2004 to replace his father William Lipinski, because he was out of touch with Democratic values.
“Our rights are under assault and he has done nothing to protect women, working families, small business and the LGBTQ community,” she said. “His views are dangerous to the district and to the nation.”
She has picked up support from a variety of organizations that agree with her views on these same issues.
“Marie Newman will be a champion for women’s reproductive rights, equal rights, high-quality health care and the rights of working people who feel like their voices are not being heard in Congress. Marie’s unique combination of small business and non-profit experience means she will hit the ground running in Washington” said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois, the state’s largest public interest organization.
She has the endorsement of Pueblo Sin Fronteras / Familia Latina Unida, which was formed primarily by undocumented Mexican Catholics whose efforts to organize their own community and provide a better education for their children were opposed by the neighborhood Catholic Church. They were active in their church and depended on their faith – but they wanted a church that would support their efforts.
“Marie Newman is the clear choice for strong leadership for immigrant families in the 3rd Congressional district,” said Pastor Emma Lozano. “For too long, the 3rd has had anti-immigrant and anti-women’s health representation. And it’s time for a strong progressive like Marie to represent the true values of the community.”
Reclaim Chicago is a grassroots political organization that endorses, elects, and holds accountable elected officials who put the needs of people and the health of our planet before corporate profits.
“As a resident of the 3rd District and co-chair of the Movement Politics Table for Reclaim Chicago, I am excited for us to be endorsing Marie Newman for Congress,” said Quade Gallagher. “We need a strong, bold vision for the 3rd District to ensure that the dignity of people of our community is upheld and fought for on the national stage, and Marie is the candidate for that vision.”
Feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem was an early Newman supporter. “We need effective, principled fighters who can put an end to this president’s unilateral actions by stopping them in Congress – and that’s what Marie Newman will do. It’s what she stands for. She is unafraid of doing what’s right, even in this time when it isn’t easy. Too many times, Dan Lipinski has voted to deprive citizens of healthcare, to oppose immigrant’s rights, to de-fund Planned Parenthood, to suppress contraception, to oppose marriage equality, and to deny the rights of LGBTQ Americans. He is not a Democrat or even a supporter of human rights.”
Others to voice their support for Newman include the Feminist Majority, the gun-safety group LEAP Forward, the American Women’s Party advocacy group, and the NARAL Pro-Choice America organization.
“Time is up for Congressman Lipinski. For too long, Dan Lipinski has ignored the needs of working families across Illinois, by pushing his fringe ideological agenda at the expense of women and families across the state,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.