US House Will Lose One of its Last Three Pro-Life Democrats

Patrick Goodenough | March 18, 2020 | 4:33am EDT
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Rep. Dan Lipinski. (Photo: @RepLipinski/Twitter)
Rep. Dan Lipinski. (Photo: @RepLipinski/Twitter)

( – In yet another indicator of the ideological shift in the Democratic Party, a “progressive” candidate succeeded in her second attempt Tuesday to oust an eight-term, pro-life Democratic House incumbent in the Chicago area.

In a primary that ended in defeat for one of just two House Democrats endorsed by Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) in the last election, businesswoman Marie Newman beat Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) in Illinois’ 3rd congressional district by 47.1 points to 44.8, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

“We were very proud to endorse Dan,” DFLA executive director Kristen Day said in response to queries as the results were coming in.

“There has been a systematic effort by the abortion lobby to bully pro-life Democrats into voting against their conscience,” she said. “Shamefully, many Democrats cave. I am extremely proud of Dan for sticking to his principles, even in the face of threats and millions of dollars of outside spending by the abortion lobby.”

After losing to Lipinski in a primary challenge in 2018, Newman’s campaign this year enjoyed the support of high-profile left-wing lawmakers and a host of liberal and pro-abortion groups.

Marie Newman. (Photo: Marie Newman for Congress)
Marie Newman. (Photo: Marie Newman for Congress)

She was endorsed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as former presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Also endorsing Newman were “squad” members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), and the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Mark Pocan (Wisc.)

Justice Democrats told its backers that Newman’s rival “opposes abortion and reproductive rights, Medicare for All, a Green New Deal. Lipinski has also taken very conservative stances on LGBTQ rights and immigration.”

Responding to the primary result, former Women’s March co-leader and Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour – a surrogate for Sanders – tweeted, “YESSSS!! Marie Newman wins the democratic primary in Illinois against Congressman Dan Lipinski! GREAT NEWS.”

Lipinski, a former co-chair of the congressional pro-life caucus, has been in Congress since 2005. He has voted against the vast majority of his party on abortion-related measures, such as those relating to federal funding for Planned Parenthood. He was supported in the 2020 primary by Women Speak Out PAC, the partner super-PAC for the Susan B. Anthony List.

A PAC established last year with the – ultimately unsuccessful – aim of drafting a pro-life Democrat into the 2020 presidential race told supporters that if it was unable to achieve that objective all financial contributions would default to the campaign of Lipinski, “a pro-life Democrat of great integrity facing a primary challenge funded by mounds of pro-abortion cash.”

Lipinski’s defeat will remove from the House one of just three Democrats – out of a total of 232 – with a record of pro-life positions. The other two are Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), who faces a primary in August, and Rep. Henry Cuellar (Texas), who this month saw off a primary challenger endorsed by Sanders, Warren, and Justice Democrats.

While the Lipinski-Newman race ended in disappointment for pro-lifers, the SBA List did celebrate three primary results in Illinois: In the 6th congressional district, Republican Jeanne Ives will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Sean Casten in November; in the 15th congressional district, Republican Mary Miller will compete for the seat vacated by retiring Republican Rep. John Shimkus; and in the 18th congressional district, Republican Esther Joy King will face incumbent Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos in November.

Ironically Bustos, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), has come under fire from the left for discouraging primary challenges to Democrat incumbents. Last May she withdrew from a fundraiser for Lipinski, after facing criticism for backing a pro-lifer.


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