A RACE THAT was considered a bellwether of the Democratic Party’s future, the contest between U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski and Marie Newman for the Democratic nomination to represent Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District went, fittingly, late into the night without a clear winner.

Finally, with 96 percent of the precincts counted by early Wednesday, The Associated Press called the race for Lipinski, who had a lead of about 1,600 votes out of the roughly 90,000 that were cast.

On Tuesday morning, Politico summed up Washington’s view of the heated primary in a story with the subhead, “Is there still room in the Democratic Party for a Blue Dog who opposes abortion rights?“

The race was indeed a signal of where the party is headed, but the question Politico posed is the wrong one for this particular district. It’s such a comfortably Democratic seat that Lipinski didn’t face an opponent in the 2016 general election. Now that he’s won the primary, he’ll face a fringe candidate with a neo-Nazi past in the 2018 general. Democrat Hillary Clinton easily carried the district two years ago, and Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in the primary there.

Questions about the future of the party gained new momentum after Conor Lamb’s upset victory in last week’s special election, which took place in a deeply conservative western Pennsylvania district; centrist Democrats argued that his win demonstrated that the true path was through moderation. They cited Lamb’s embrace of gun culture; his personal, but not political, opposition to abortion; and his unwillingness to back single-payer health care. But the lesson only goes so far: Even though Lamb ran in a far more conservative district than did Lipinski, the former ran a far more progressive campaign — and still won.

So a more precise question might be: Is there still room in a solidly Democratic district for a Blue Dog who opposes abortion rights, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, a $15 minimum wage, and who voted against the Affordable Care Act?

And the answer, at least in Illinois’s 3rd District, is barely — for now.

The race also answered a different question, one that is perhaps more relevant to the future of the party: Can the progressive Democrats mount a powerful enough challenge to entrenched, well-funded incumbents that they can threaten the status quo?

The answer to that question, clearly, is yes. Lipinski held on, but he got the kind of political scare that no incumbent wants. Newman, taking the stage at her election night party at Marz Taproom in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, declined to concede the race, but said that whatever happens, voters had shocked Lipinski into more progressive positions. “No matter what happens tomorrow, we have moved him on immigration, we have moved him on healthcare. I scared the crap out of him on $12 vs. $15” — a reference to their debate over the minimum wage. She continued, “There’s many things we can move him on more, so let’s be clear. The fight is not over. It’s not done.”

Just how present that threat was became clear about two hours after the polls closed, as vote counts showed Newman, who’d been trailing by two to three points all night, surging ahead. At Marz Taproom, volunteers and staffers hugged each other, with one screaming, “I can’t believe this is happening!”

Newman’s slight lead lasted only a few minutes — apparently the result of a tabulation error — before Lipinski crawled back on top for the rest of the night.


statement from Marie Newman

“I entered this race to fight for the rights of the hardworking people in Illinois’ Third District. Our campaign was built on achieving that. Last night, we wanted to make sure that every vote got counted, that every voice was heard. We believed there was a possibility of victory.

After reviewing the results, we know that we lost by a thin margin. It was a good fight. Since we started our campaign, Dan Lipinski has moved his position on healthcare, a path to citizenship, and the need for a fair minimum wage. We put him on notice that we expect better for all of the people in our district.

I plan on continuing to hold him accountable so that every person in our district has access, opportunity, and equal rights. I hope the race we ran will make him a better representative for all of us in Congress.”

Business Insider: A brutal battle between 2 Democrats fighting over the party’s future has all eyes on Illinois today

  • All eyes are on the Illinois primaries on Tuesday — particularly, on a congressional battle between two Democrats, which has become a national flashpoint.
  • In the governor’s race, the primary could narrow the field to a billionaire and a multi-millionaire.
  • Early voting is way up, especially in heavily Democratic areas.

Rep. Dan Lipinski, who’s represented Illinois’ third district for seven terms, is staunchly opposed to abortion, voted against Obamacare, and has lauded President Donald Trump as a “champion on immigration reform.”

But Lipinski is a Democrat — one of a small coalition of conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats left in the House. And his Tuesday primary race against progressive Marie Newman will be an early test of how far right the Democratic party umbrella extends in 2018.

Newman, a first-time candidate who has the backing of several national women’s rights groups and two members of Illinois’ congressional delegation, campaigned heavily against Lipinski’s record and promoted herself as a champion of “working families, healthcare for all, and everybody’s rights,” she told Business Insider last year.

“He’s radically conservative,” Newman said of Lipinski, who has voted with Trump 35% of the time. “He’s hidden all of his views.”

The race is also a test of the future of the Blue Dog Coalition, which just welcomed its newest member of Congress, Conor Lamb, who eked out a win over his Republican opponent in a Pennsylvania district that went for Trump by 20 points.

The suburban Chicago district is solidly blue — Hillary Clinton won it by 15 points in the 2016 general election — and both Lipinski and Newman supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential primary.


CNN: An anti-abortion, conservative Democrat fights for survival in Illinois primary

Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski is an endangered species.

Out of place in today’s Democratic Party and in his own diversifying district on a host of issues including abortion, the seven-term congressman is fighting for survival in Tuesday’s primary election.

His conservative stances have made him the target of progressive activists who are fighting to purge the party of what they see as views that are anathema to its energized base during an election cycle that features more women running for office than ever before.

These activists, including groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List, are backing Marie Newman in a contest that has put a Democratic incumbent in serious jeopardy of being ousted by his own party for the first time since President Donald Trump took office.

It’s turned Tuesday’s contest into a both a purity test on the race’s central issue — abortion — and a gauge of whether “Blue Dogs” have a future in Democratic politics beyond upset victories in red districts.

Campaigning at a Metra train station in a suburb outside of Chicago Monday morning, Lipinski stopped to chat as he passed out literature and shook the hands of commuters.

“We have to be an inclusive, big-tent party,” Lipinski said.

In Lipinski’s view, Democrats lost their way in the Obama years. The party focused far too much on identity politics in the 2016 presidential election, he says, alienating dissenters on social issues and losing focus of the economy.

He pointed to Democrats’ loss of hundreds of state legislative seats during Obama’s presidency.

“We have a long way to go, and it’s certainly not the time to be pushing people out of the party, telling people they’re not welcome,” Lipinski said. “That was one of the problems — it’s why Donald Trump got elected in the first place, because Hillary Clinton was not being seen by some people in the Midwest as fighting for working-class men and women.”

But that’s exactly what has been happening here in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which typically protects incumbents, has sat his race out.

Former aides to President Barack Obama, still incensed that Lipinski voted against the Affordable Care Act due to its mandate that organizations offer health insurance that covers contraceptives, convened a press conference last week to settle the score.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied his political organization to Newman’s cause, and two Illinois Democrats, Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez, took the rare step of endorsing a home-state incumbent’s primary opponent.


Oak Lawn Patch: Dan Lipinski vs. Marie Newman – Follow IL-03 Vote Results Here

Dan Lipinski is challenged by Marie Newman in the Illinois 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary. Follow the vote results here.

ILLINOIS 3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — The Democratic primary in the Illinois 3rd Congressional District is one of the most closely watched races in the country and has attracted national attention. The race has become symbolic of the deep divisions within the Democratic Party. The primary pits incumbent Dan Lipinski against challenger Marie Newman.

Lipinski is facing his first real challenger as he battles to stay alive in Tuesday’s primary. The seven-term congressman is leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of fiscally-conservative Democrats. He is staunchly anti-abortion, stating that he believes human DNA starts at the moment of conception. He was also voted against the Affordable Care Act and the DREAM Act, and co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which prohibits the federal government from taking adverse actions against a person who opposes same-sex marriage. While he recognizes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage as the “law of the land,” he is on record as opposing government recognition of gay marriage.

Newman has proven herself to be a credible and formidable challenger. She is a former marketing consultant, small business owner and anti-bullying advocate. She differs sharply from Lipinski on the issue of abortion and has received heavy financial backing from the pro-choice NAREL group, which has also endorsed the first-time candidate. Newman supports universal healthcare, livable wages and tax relief for working families, and common sense gun safety. She also supports protecting immigrant and LGBTQ rights. Lipinski has accused the upstart challenger of padding her resume.


ABC News: Sitting Democrat fights to keep his seat in contentious primary battle

In the 2018 primaries, Democrats are looking to define the direction of their party, as the progressive grassroots movement gains strength. That fight is playing out in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District in a race between conservative incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski and his progressive challenger, Marie Newman

The race has drawn national attention because it offers a window into the future of the Democratic Party, and staying power of the progressive movement. If Newman emerges as the victor and unseats Lipinski, it could be a signal that the party is less likely to accept conservative views on social issues like abortion and LGBT rights, and moving further left.

Democratic leaders have also picked sides in the race, and the leaders standing behind Lipinski and Newman respectively exemplify the tension that exists in the Democratic Party between centrist and progressives—a fight that is likely to continue into the 2020 presidential election cycle.

Progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has thrown his weight behind Newman in a district the senator won by eight points in the 2016 Democratic primary.

Sanders’ endorsement draws a sharp contrast with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s endorsement of Lipinski.

Meet the candidates

A Lipinski has represented the southwest portion of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs in Congress for the last 35 years. Rep. Dan Lipinski was first elected to Congress in 2004, after his father, Rep. William Lipinski, dropped out of the race after the primary, but before the general election, and the Democratic Party tapped the younger Lipinski to fill the empty slot.

Lipinski has served seven terms in the seat and has held positions often at odds with the majority of his party. He is a co-chair of the Pro-Life Caucus and voted against the DREAM act in 2010. He also was the only Democrat from Illinois to vote against Obamacare, and did not publically endorse President Barack Obama for a second term.


Newsweek: Can Resistance Candidate Marie Newman Beat A Pro-Life Democratic Incumbent Backed By The Establishment?

For the last month and a half, Marie Newman has started her day around 4:30 a.m. She rolls out of bed while it’s still dark outside and, while her family sleeps, pops in an exercise DVD that guides her through cardio and resistance training. After burning a few hundred calories, the real work begins: Newman, a first-time candidate in Illinois’s 3rd District, spends the rest of her day answering voter emails, knocking on doors, attending fundraisers and meet-and-greets, and phone banking until—usually around midnight—she can collapse back into bed.

Newman says she has had to work tirelessly to have a shot at defeating her Democratic primary opponent, seven-term incumbent Dan Lipinski, a pro-life, anti-Affordable Care Actanti-Dream Act Democrat with establishment support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and party leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Lipinski’s held onto the seat since 2005, sailing to victory after his father, who won that cycle’s primary, withdrew from the race and suggested Democrats back his son instead.

“For 35 years we’ve had the Lipinski monarchy, which is supported by the Chicago machine,” Newman told Newsweek on Sunday. “We believe we can pull this out, but we have to keep pushing every minute, right up until Tuesday night at 7 p.m.”

Polls from earlier this month show her just two points behind Lipinski, when months ago, she still faced a daunting 21-point gap. In the state’s solidly blue 3rd District, the bloodiest battles are often fought in the Democratic primaries. This year’s Republican challenger, Arthur Jones, a former leader of the American Nazi Party, shouldn’t stand a chance.

Newman has held her own with the support of groups Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NARAL and EMILY’s List, local grassroots organizations like Indivisible and sitting members of congress, including New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s offered money and support to several first-time female candidates this cycle. (Gillibrand isn’t in the business of losing, either—two of the female candidates she endorsed in this month’s Texas primaries emerged definitive victors, while the other five advanced to May’s runoff elections.)

If Newman succeeds, her victory could signal that the Resistance wing of the Democratic Party has enough momentum to usher in a new class of progressive candidates who echo the concerns of an electorate that the Trump administration has only pushed further left.


The Economist: Chasing a Blue Dog – A Democratic face-off in Illinois’s third district

Will an anti-abortion Democrat lose his long-held seat to a progressive challenger?

ON MARCH 19th, Democrats and Republicans in Illinois are holding primaries to select their candidates for governor, 18 congressional seats, attorney-general, secretary of state and other local offices. The gubernatorial race is getting the bulk of media attention: Bruce Rauner, a singularly vulnerable Republican governor, is fighting for his political life. But the race in the third congressional district in the south-west of Chicago is unusually interesting: Dan Lipinski , a seven-term congressman is running neck-and-neck with Marie Newman, a marketing executive who has never before sought office.

The unexpectedly tight race is symptomatic of the deep division within the Democratic Party between those who want the party to move to the right on immigration, abortion and other social issues and those who want it to adopt the policies championed by Bernie Sanders, the liberal senator from Vermont who ran for the presidency in 2016. (Mr Sanders won the third district by eight percentage points in the presidential primaries.) Mr Lipinski is a pro-life Democrat who voted against President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as the DREAM act, a law providing a path to permanent residency for those who came to America as children of undocumented immigrants. He also chose not to sign the Equality act, which expands protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Ms Newman is pro-choice, a champion of lesbian, gay and transgender rights and a supporter of universal healthcare.

For a political newcomer like Ms Newman, Mr Lipinski is a formidable candidate to take on. He is co-chairman of the Blue Dog coalition, a small group of centrist Democrats. His seat has been in the family for 36 unbroken years; Mr Lipinski inherited it from his father, William, who went on to open a one-man lobbying firm. Over the years the Lipinskis built deep ties with Chicago’s Democratic machine. The Chicago Tribuneand the Sun Times, the city’s main newspapers, are backing him. So is the AFL-CIO and many other local unions.


HuffPost: Anti-Abortion Democrat Faces Primary Challenge From The Left

Marie Newman might unseat Congressman Dan Lipinski on Tuesday.

Mic: An Illinois Democrat may be the first member of Congress to lose re-election in 2018

After Illinois voters head to the polls for the state’s primaries on Tuesday, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) may become the first member of Congress to lose re-election in 2018.

Lipinski — a “blue dog” Democrat with a conservative voting record who is anti-abortionanti-LGBTanti-$15 minimum wage and voted against the Affordable Care Act in 2010 — is facing a primary challenge from fellow Democrat Marie Newman.

At surface level, the race is symbolic of the schism between the Democratic Party and the progressive wing rallying against “establishment” force. However, the Lipinski race doesn’t perfectly fit into that narrative.

Lipinski’s fellow Illinois Democratic Reps. Luis Gutiérrez and Jan Schakowsky endorsed Marie Newman earlier this year, as did rising Democrat star Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Additionally, Newman picked up the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice AmericaEMILY’s List — both of whom endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential primary. She also received the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union — an interest group in the Democratic coalition that spends big on Democratic candidates in federal elections.

Meanwhile, top aides to former President Barack Obama have waded into the race, bashing Lipinski for using a mailer featuring the former president in an attempt to use Obama to carry himself to victory. Lipinski refused to endorse Obama for his re-election bid in 2012.