A political newcomer is seeking to unseat Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski, who represents Illinois’ 3rd District.
Fellow Democrat Marie Newman will challenge Lipinski in the March 20 primary election, giving him his first serious threat from within his own party in over a decade.
“I’ve been willing to sit down on issues and really try to work them out and I don’t go out and yell and scream and pretend that will solve the problem,” said Lipinski, a former college professor inherited the seat from his father in 2005.
Lipinski said his low-key demeanor helps him get things done from behind the scenes and across the political aisle. However, Newman said working with Republicans is not a stretch for Lipinski.
“You wouldn’t be able to tell he is a Democrat. I’m truly a Democrat,” Newman said.
Newman, a former advertising executive and mother of two, accuses Lipinski of being out of step with the values of the Democratic party and the 3rd Congressional District.
The 3rd District is traditionally Democratic and includes the Southwest Side of Chicago and many southwest suburbs.
Lipiniski is one of the rare members of his party who is anti-abortion, opposes same-sex marriage and voted against the Affordable Care Act.
His positions have caused two other Democratic members of Congress from Illinois — Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez — to endorse Newman.
“We can’t have a Tea Party of the left that is bad for the party bad for our country, it’s unfortunate to see people move in that direction,” Lipinski said.
However, Lipinski is supported by the most powerful Democrat in the state, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, which is a hurdle that Newman knows she must overcome.
“So far, for 36 years, you’ve had the Lipinski monarchy supported by the Chicago machine, of course name ID is strong, but it is not good,” Newman said.
Newman has called for Madigan to step down over his handling of sexual harassment issues. Lipinski supports the house speaker.
Lipinski and Newman will face off Wednesday night for a League of Women Voters forum. Holocaust denier Arthur Jones, who is running as a Republican in the race, was not invited to the forum. However, he plans on crashing the event.