Campaign spending is ratcheting up and may top $2 million as the race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski and challenger Marie Newman in the 3rd Congressional District heads into its final weeks.
Lipinski had more than $1.6 million in his war chest at the end of 2017, according to his filing with the Federal Election Commission. That was almost twice what he raised for his 2016 and 2014 campaigns, respectively. He spent a little more than $600,000 in each of those election cycles.
The filing showed that his committee had expenditures of just under $85,000 during the fourth quarter.
Cong. Dan Lipinski
As the campaign draws into its pivotal weeks, Lipinski will be spending a chunk of that cash on direct mailings to voters as well as television and radio ads, Isaac Sancken, his director of communications, said in an email.
It’s not unusual for incumbents to raise more money than challengers, and Newman, his opponent in the March 20 Democratic primary, had only $236,000 on hand at the end of December. That included a hefty $100,000 of her own money.
Newman's campaign expenses during the fourth quarter totaled about $123,000, according to the filing.
Her campaign received a major shot in the arm last week after she appeared at a forum with Lipinski that was sponsored by the League of Women Voters at Moraine Valley Community College.
A coalition of progressive groups led by NARAL Pro-Choice America announced it would spend more than $1 million on political ads for Newman in the days leading up to the primary.
Joining NARAL were the Human Rights Campaign, SEIU, MoveOn, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and EMILY's List. They said they would work together to educate voters about what they call Lipinski's poor record and promote Newman.
In its announcement, the group said Lipinski had voted to block his constituents from care at Planned Parenthood and ban abortions, opposed marriage equality, opposed raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and voted against the Affordable Care Act.
Their campaign will include direct mail, digital persuasion ads, peer-to-peer texting and TV ads. The first mailing was scheduled to go out last week and its first TV ads were also supposed to begin airing last week.
"Dan Lipinski is way out of step with his constituents and has repeatedly voted against women's rights, LGBTQ equality, workers and the basic freedoms that his constituents, and all Americans, hold dear," said Mitchell Stille, NARAL's National Campaign Director. "This unprecedented coalition will work every day between now and primary day to ensure voters know Dan Lipinski's real record."
Joanna Klonsky, Newman’s director of communications, said she couldn’t comment on what NARAL and the other groups were planning.
But she did say her campaign “was receiving tons of grassroots energy.”
“It’s definitely great to have that kind of support,” she said.
The 3rd District generally runs southwest from Chicago’s Midway Airport area to Crest Hill and Lockport in the suburbs. It stretches from Lyons and Stickney on the north to Orland Hills on the south and from Oak Lawn on the east to Romeoville on the west.