by Thomas Valentine
Chicago-area Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), one of the last pro-life Democrats in Congress, staved off a fierce primary challenge from a ferociously pro-abortion candidate last night. Rep. Lipinski defeated Marie Newman — an ultra-leftist who had the backing of Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Human Rights Campaign, and Bernie Sanders — by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent, or just under 2,000 votes.
The vote count was close all night. Lipinski was strong in the working-class Catholic neighborhoods near Midway Airport, while Newman’s support came largely from wealthier suburbs. At around 11 p.m., just before the Associated Press called the race for Lipinski, Newman refused to concede, saying she “would like Mr. Lipinski to have a very painful evening.”
Lipinski, who has represented Illinois’ 3rd District since 2005, is one of the few Blue Dog Democrats and the co-chairman of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. He is pro-life, opposes same-sex marriage (holding the same position nearly all Democrats held until 2012), and voted against Obamacare because it expanded taxpayer funding of abortion. On most other issues, he is a middle-of-the-road Democrat. Lipinski is not just pro-life, but outspokenly so:
Newman based her entire campaign on attacking Lipinski for being pro-life and supporting natural marriage. As I wrote in February, outside leftist groups and even Lipinski’s colleagues piled on, pouring millions of dollars into the race to unseat him and send a message: pro-lifers are not welcome in today’s Democrat Party.
But it was likely pro-lifers who gave Lipinski the edge. The Susan B. Anthony List flooded the district with about 70 college students to knock on the doors of over 17,000 pro-life Democrats, urging them to get out to vote. In a race that was decided by under 2,000 votes, this effort was likely the reason Lipinski was able to pull it off:
SBA List “went all in for Lipinski… In a razor-close race where the two candidates were separated by less than 2,000 votes, they might have made the difference…” https://t.co/qdNAqksYPU @natashakorecki @playbookplus #ProLife #IL03 #IllinoisPrimary pic.twitter.com/k4Xzf8Bomy
— Susan B Anthony List (@SBAList) March 21, 2018
For now, pro-lifers still have a small voice in the Democrat Party.
Photo credit: National Science Foundation via Flickr