Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional district saw a titanic primary in 2018 between incumbent Mike Capuano and then-Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. Though now-Congresswoman Pressley won that primary by a very comfortable 17-point margin, it was considered (and expected to be) a very close race, in part, because the two contenders were both well-respected public servants with similarly left-of-center voting ideologies.
Though the 17-point margin is all the evidence one needs that there was both an appetite for new leadership and support for Ayanna Pressley as that leader, Capuano enjoyed plenty of goodwill derived from a voting record that included 100% ratings with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Human Rights Campaign, as well as very high ratings from NAACP, ACLU, and others.
But, imagine if Capuano actually had a really awful record on a number of issues important to Democrats, and it was much easier to say “Hey, let’s replace this guy.” Then, you’d have Illinois’ 3rd Congressional district. Now, why should anyone in Massachusetts (or anywhere outside of that particular district) care about a primary in IL-03? The incumbent Democrat is Dan Lipinski; and I’ll expand on this in a moment, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that he is the most anti-woman, most anti-choice, most anti-LGBTQ+, most DINO Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
-is the *only* Democrat in the House who hasn’t co-sponsored the Equality Act
-is the *only* federally-elected Democrat who spoke at the March for Life, where he likened his anti-choice extremism to MLK’s civil rights work
-is the *only* Democrat who is a member of the “bipartisan” House Pro-Life Caucus, and he is their co-chair
-opposed Obamacare and the DREAM Act
–refused to endorse President Obama for re-election against Mitt Romney in 2012!
How did Lipinski even win this seat in the first place? His predecessor was his father Bill who retired from the seat *during* an election cycle after winning re-nomination and then convinced the state party to replace him on the ballot with his son Dan (despite Dan having not held elected office before and having not even lived in Illinois regularly in fifteen years). So Dan Lipinski had never (until 2018) faced any serious challenge for this Congressional seat that he inherited.
And it’s not like Lipinski even represents a particularly conservative district. IL-03 has a Cook PVI Rating of D+6. Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in this district in 2016, 55-40. Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney in this district in 2012, 56-43. It’s a safely, staunchly Democratic district; so, there is no ideological reason for its representative to be anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ, anti-DREAMer, and anti-Obamacare. Dan Lipinski is just a terrible Democrat, arguably the worst in the entire U.S. House of Representatives. As such, Democrats and progressives everywhere – particularly those of us who strongly advocate for pro-choice policies at a time when reproductive rights are under aggressive assault – have a vested interest in booting Lipinski for a progressive, pro-choice, pro-equality Democrat.
Fortunately, we have such a Democrat to support. Progressive businesswoman Marie Newman ran in 2018 against Lipinski. As a first-time candidate, she managed to fight to a 51-49 very narrow loss (despite Team Lipinski running a shockingly nasty campaign). She’s running again this cycle and she has the benefit of a grassroots field and fundraising base to rely on from the start. She has already outraised Lipinski in the first three months of 2019. And, she has the early endorsements of progressive heavy hitters including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, MoveOn, Democracy for America, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
Marie also has a compelling background. Her professional background includes working her way through the ranks to become partner at a nationally renowned advertising agency, and then starting her own consulting business. Her personal background includes founding the national non-profit “Team Up to Stop Bullying” following the experience she and her family had addressing bullying faced in school by her transgender daughter. She is also an active leader with her local Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America chapter.
Illinois has a very early primary, taking place on March 17, 2020. In other words, this election is only ten months away. And we can make Congress more progressive not only by flipping seats from red to blue but also by looking at safe Democratic seats like IL-03 and upgrading the representation where incumbents substantially don’t represent Democratic values. Given Dan Lipinski’s status as the most anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ+ Democrat in Congress, this primary is a critically important race as it relates to reproductive rights and civil rights. And it’s an opportunity to make our House Democratic Caucus and Congress in general more progressive across the board.
You can learn more on Marie Newman’s website, and I urgently encourage you to donate to her campaign. Also, Like her on Facebook and Follow her on Twitter. And spread the word (including sharing the link to this post on your social media)! This is a primary that should garner national interest and attention among progressives across the country.