Photo by Steve Metsch
Cong. Dan Lipinski, with wife Judy, chats with reporters after his narrow victory over challenger Marie Newman in the 3rd Congressional District primary.
Flashing a bright smile late Tuesday night, Cong. Dan Lipinski cautiously spoke of his apparent victory by a slim margin over challenger Marie Newman after their bitter campaign in the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary.
Lipinski spoke about 11:20 p.m. at a rally of his supporters at the Flagg Creek Golf Course clubhouse in Countryside.
The Associated Press declared him the winner early Wednesday, but Newman had not yet conceded.
Supporters erupted in cheers when he walked in with wife Judy to the sounds of “The Lipinski Song” by Tomorrow’s Alliance.
At that time, he led by about 1,600 votes with 25 precincts left to be counted. With 97 percent of the vote tallied, Lipinski led, 51 percent to 49 percent.
“I’m not coming up here to declare victory, but things look really good at this point,” said Lipinski, who thanked supporters, his parents and wife, Judy.
He and Judy had nervously watched election results at the home of his mother and father, former Cong. William Lipinski. “I kept hitting the refresh button,” the congressman said.
The winner is expected to easily beat Republican candidate Arthur Jones, of Lyons. The Illinois Republican Party has distanced itself from Jones, a far right-wing campaigner who over the decades has been a member of neo-Nazi groups.
Newman, 53, of La Grange, whose rally was held in Chicago, declined to concede, saying “you all have worked way too hard, so I’m not ready to give in. And before we give in, and we’re likely not, you know me. We’re going to make sure every vote is counted.”
She added that she “would like Mr. Lipinski to have a very painful evening.”
Lipinski was offended: “Can you believe she said that on TV in front of millions of people?” he asked, declining further comment.
During his speech to supporters, Lipinski, 51, of Western Springs, accused Newman of trying to create “a Tea Party of the Left” in the Democratic Party.
“The Democratic Party has to be inclusive. It’s not enough to oppose President Trump. We shouldn’t be pushing people out. We should be bringing people in,” he said to applause.
“I’ve always been about bringing people together. That’s what we should be doing. I’ve always thought being in elected office is about helping people,” Lipinski said.
Later, Lipinski said an influx of outside money turned political newcomer Newman into a formidable challenger: “Over $2 million poured in here to attack me,” he said.
He said “yes” when asked if this campaign was the toughest of his eight races for Congress.
An insider in the Lipinski campaign said he was surprised the race was so close, adding “they painted him with a broad brush.”
Estimates were that Newman spent around $2.5 million and Lipinski spent about $2 million on the campaign.
Newman told her supporters that “no matter what happens, we have moved him on immigration, we have moved him on healthcare. I scared the crap out of him on 12 vs. 15 (minimum wage).
“There are many things we can move him on more. So, let’s be clear, the fight is not over and it’s not done,” Newman said.
Lipinski’s chief of staff, Jerry Hurckes, recalled Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley saying people “are comfortable with an old shoe,” adding “with Dan Lipinski, you’re comfortable.”
He said Lipinski got about 4,400 more votes in the city than Newman, who won the Will County vote and was leading in suburban Cook County precincts.
He said his poll watchers did not see a large turnout of younger women voters who might have supported Newman with her oft-heard criticism of Lipinski being pro-life.
Asked if the close vote will change Lipinski, Hurckes said “that’s something you have to ask him.”
Lipinski said he planned no changes in his stance on various issues, including his being pro-life, saying he is in step with the majority of residents.
A host of Democratic officials were at Flagg Creek, including former state Sen. Lou Viverito, McCook Mayor and Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, and Oak Lawn Trustee Terry Vorderer.
Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty, also the Township of Lyons supervisor, said he was happy Lipinski won.
“He does an excellent job serving my community and surrounding communities. This was too close for comfort, but we’ll take a win,” Getty said.
One supporter, Sam Kreneta, said he was disappointed more younger voters didn’t seem turn out to vote. “They need to get involved in their future.”
Photo by Jessie Martin
Maria Newman is surrounded by family members and supporters late Tuesday night as she tells the crowd that she was not conceding to Dan Lipinski in the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary.
The crowd was younger at Newman’s rally, which was filled with a nervous energy all night. The crowd roared when a TV glitch showed Newman surging to a 51-49 lead.
Patti Ernst, of Oak Lawn, where her late father, Ernie Kolb, was the longtime mayor, said, “I’d work again tomorrow,” if Newman were to run again. “And that’s how everyone in this room is.”
Lipinski, who serves on the House Transportation Committee, often mentioned his support from labor unions like the AFL-CIO, in the campaign, along with that of elected officials.
The campaign got a lot of attention, he said, because Illinois was the second primary in the nation this year.
James Koc, of Lyons, works for the post office. A supporter of Lipinski because of his dedication to veterans, Koc said he can’t recall ever seeing more negative campaign literature.
Jessie Martin contributed to this story.