Marie Newman might be the perfect person (at the perfect time) to take down seven-term congressman Dan Lipinski.
Marie Newman has never run for anything, ever, in her 53 years. Not for village board in La Grange, where she lives. Not for the library board. Not even for class president when she was a student at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park. Nonetheless, she’s certain she can be the one to finally unseat Dan Lipinski, a seven-term incumbent in the 3rd Congressional District, in the March 20 Democratic primary.
She’s not totally nuts to think she can pull it off. Newman is basking in the endorsements of feminist icon Gloria Steinem, New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and groups advocating for women, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Feminist Majority Foundation. She’s also running with the hurricane of #MeToo at her back. The businesswoman and mother of two wonders why women would vote for Lipinski, a “radical extremist … on a crusade against women” who’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood and cosponsored legislation that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBT people.
As for Lipinski, 51, he seems slightly annoyed when I list Newman’s backers. “What really matters is what goes on in the district,” says the Western Springs resident, rattling off his support from most suburban mayors and city aldermen in the 3rd District. The congressman, often called the most conservative Democrat in the House, is not accustomed to competition. Thanks to backing from Illinois House speaker Mike Madigan and the unions that join him, Lipinski has skated through elections since 2004, facing realistic challengers in the Democratic primary only twice, in 2006 and 2008.
Newman is polling at just 18 percent to Lipinski’s 49 percent, according to numbers released in January by Normington, Petts & Associates. But that’s with 33 percent undecided. After those pollsters then gave respondents a rundown of Lipinski’s record on LGBT issues and immigration, Newman actually moved ahead, 39 percent to 34 percent. The message: Many voters don’t realize how conservative Lipinski is. Often referred to as a “Trump Democrat,” he voted with the president’s agenda more than 30 percent of the time last year, according to analysis by FiveThirtyEight.