Marie Newman is a Liberal, progressive Democrat running for Congress in the Illinois primary election tonight (IL-03). Newman is challenging incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat known for his more Conservative views. Most notably, Rep. Lipinski has taken an anti-abortion stance in Congress. Newman has been called a Resistance candidate who is going up against the establishment. What makes this election so unusual is the fact that she is running against another Democrat. Rep. Lipinski is a rare, right-wing Conservative Democrat, whereas Newman is extremely Liberal.
Newman is an entrepreneur and an activist; a newcomer to the political arena. She is the founder of a national non-profit organization, which has fostered her passion for protecting small businesses and working families. The key issues Newman is focusing on include healthcare for all, supporting small businesses, protecting working families, protecting and improving civil rights, job-focused education, protecting the environment and gun safety, among many others.
Many political heavy-hitters have officially endorsed Newman, including Senator Bernie Sanders. Additionally, last November, a group of five national progressive organizations announced their support for Newman. Newman has quickly formed strong political alliances with fellow Democrats, and has proven to be a worthy contender. Newman is considered to be the first true challenger that Rep. Lipinski has had to face. Tonight’s primary has been called a contentious battle and a true race, following Newman and Lipinski trading barbs at the most recent debate.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Newman Has Been Called a Resistance Candidate Who is Fighting The Establishment
Since the election of Donald Trump to the US Presidency, a strong resistance to his administration has formed among politicians; primarily, but by no means exclusively, Democrats. Newman is a stark upholder of Democratic values and appears to have taken Rep. Lipinski, who hails from a political legacy, by surprise.
“Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., much like his father before him, has long commanded the loyalty of unions in the district, who are closely tied to the party machinery, a machine that can still move a lot of ground in the state. ‘We’ve been gunning for Lipinski for something like 10 years now, and until organized labor abandons him, it’s always an uphill slog. But he certainly has no business being a Democrat and would love to see Newman catch fire,’” Markos Moulitsas, head of Daily Kos, told The Intercept.
2. Newman Is an Activist & an Entrepreneur & The CEO of a National Non-Profit Organization
Newman’s biographical information provided on her official campaign website is as follows:
“Marie Newman is results-driven and progressive. As a small businesswoman, entrepreneur, national nonprofit executive, author and human rights advocate, Marie Newman has spent her life embracing challenges and working with others on solutions.
Marie is running for Congress to stand up for the values we share in the 3rd District: fighting for working families, growing and protecting small businesses, promoting education and training programs that lead to real jobs, pushing for Healthcare-For-All, protecting Social Security, worker’s rights, women’s healthcare, veterans, and Medicare.
Born in Beverly and raised in Palos Park, Marie graduated from Carl Sandburg High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After years of working for the largest ad agency in the U.S., where she became a partner at age 31, Marie left to start a successful consulting business. Over the course of more than a decade, Marie consulted for a diverse array of firms: from Fortune 1000 companies like Humana, Discover Card and Advocate Healthcare as well as small businesses and tech startups.
When one of her children was severely bullied in school, Marie founded a nonprofit group to address the problem — eventually expanding it nationwide. Partnering with Sears Holdings Inc., Marie created and became the Managing Director of Team Up to Stop Bullying, a coalition of 70 nonprofits dedicated to anti-bullying solutions. She worked directly with state and federal legislators to make anti-bullying policies a priority and wrote a book with solutions used by schools and parents across the country. She has also served as a state and national advocate for cancer research with the Gateway Foundation and common-sense gun safety with Moms Demand Action.”
Despite being new to the political arena, Newman is holding her own and has gained the respect (and subsequent endorsement) of some major players as outlined in more detail below. Based on her career, Newman is a savvy business person with a passion for standing up for the little guy. Being new to politics has not hindered Newman’s success this far; she has gained seemingly nonstop momentum while ramping up for this evening’s special election.
Newman has called Lipinski out on several important issues. She has targeted Lipinski’s “right to discriminate” legislation. Newman has further drawn attention to Lipinski’s allegedly questionable voting record, accusing Lipinski of jeopardizing the best interests of small businesses and pandering to special interest groups in Washington.
3. The Key Issues of Newman’s Campaign Are Healthcare For All, Supporting Small Businesses, Protecting Working Families, Protecting Human Rights, Fighting Big Money in Politics, Supporting Job-Focused Education, Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose, Protecting the Environment, Gun Safety & More
Newman describes her “true blue” Democratic values on her campaign website and outlines the key issues and platforms on which she is focusing.
Newman is focused on protecting small businesses, working families and keeping big money out of politics, women and LGBTQ rights, affordable healthcare, increasing the minimum wage, gun safety, job-friendly education and other important issues.
Newman’s official campaign website elaborates on her key issues as follows:
Healthcare: Marie supports moving to Healthcare for All. Healthcare is a right for all Americans — not just the rich, and not a privilege.
Supporting Small Businesses: Marie believes in putting the needs of small businesses ahead of big corporations. Growing small businesses leads to higher wages for workers and a more robust economy.
Protecting Working Families: Marie will fight for livable wages and tax relief to working families, not the 1%, as well as advocate for paid family leave and reducing the cost of childcare.
Fighting Big Money in Politics: Marie is ready to get big money out of politics. It’s time to reverse the destructive effects of Citizens United.
Protecting Citizens’ Rights: Marie Newman believes in true American ideals: accepting refugees and creating a welcoming environment for all. Discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexuality must be fought tirelessly.
Job Focused Education: Marie seeks to ensure that college graduates are ready to work- without considerable debt. She supports apprenticeship programs for middle-skilled jobs, job-focused curriculums and restoring regulations on student debt.
Gun Safety: “As the former Illinois spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action, I support commonsense gun safety laws including 1.) prohibiting those on the federal “no-fly” list of suspected terrorists from buying guns, 2.) keeping guns out of dangerous hands via universal background checks that include private gun sales and gun shows, and 3.) requiring those convicted of domestic violence or under legal order of protection to turn in their guns,” states Newman.
In response, Lipinski has stated that Newman is making “magical,” unrealistic promises to the public which, he alleges, cannot possibly be kept. “A lot of things that Ms. Newman talks about, she plays that somehow it’s going to magically happen,” he said. “What we need to do is sit down and work out some compromise. Compromise has become a dirty word in Washington. The Tea Party, the Freedom Caucus are a major problem. Having a Tea Party of the left that makes promises about all these things that can happen magically, it’s not going to work,” reported The Chicago Tribune.
4. Newman Has Been Endorsed By Senator Bernie Sanders, Among Other Political Heavy Hitters
Perhaps the most notable politician to officially endorse Newman is Senator Bernie Sanders.
“Marie Newman has made it clear that she will be a champion for working families in Illinois, which is why I am proud to support her campaign. In Congress, Marie will fight for Medicare for All, a $15 an hour minimum wage, and providing workers with benefits such as paid sick leave, while protecting Medicare and Social Security. She will defend women’s rights, LGBT rights and ensure immigrants have a safe path to citizenship. I am proud to stand with Marie and look forward to continuing to fight alongside her on these and other critical issues once she’s elected to Congress,” said Senator Sanders.
A detailed list of Newman’s official endorsements is available on her official campaign website.
“[Newman] has also drawn headlines for endorsements from New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowksy of Evanston and Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, who took the unusual step of backing a challenger to one of their local Democratic colleagues,” reported The Chicago Tribune.
In addition to the support of strong political allies, Newman also received the endorsement of five powerful groups in November. “The groups broadly come from the activist wing of the party that is comfortable working with establishment Democrats, if at occasionally an arms-length distance: NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The five joined Daily Kos, which had previously endorsed Newman,” explained The Intercept.
5. Tonight’s Primary Has Been Described As a True Race & a Contentious Battle
Many political commentators have stated that Newman is the first challenger to truly threaten Lipinski, and she appears to have shaken his confidence. ““There’s been a lot of money spent — almost $2 million — to try to knock me down,” Lipinski said. “You know me. You know we share the same values, so I ask you to come out and vote for me. And if you don’t always take a Democratic ballot, if you can do it just this one time for me,” reported USA Today.
If Lipinski is nervous, according to the experts, it is not without good reason. Lipinski has by and large enjoyed an immensely successful political career without facing challenges from too many contenders, which is not to suggest that he has not earned his seat in Congress. However, some say that he was left unprepared for Newman, and did not expect this sort of a fight at the polls.
Despite the fact that Lipinski is a political veteran and Newman is a newcomer, Newman held her own during the most recent debate against Lipinski; exchanging pointed, fiery barbs with him. The crowd, estimated to consist of over 550 people, became quite stirred up at the debate, often cheering, shouting and applauding the candidates. Even if Lipinski is reelected, Newman has undoubtedly ruffled his feathers and called him out about his stances on certain hot-button issues such as abortion. If some Democrats were previously willing to overlook or ignore the more controversial, Conservative views that Lipinski touts, Newman has forced those issues into the spotlight, making them unignorable by showcasing them.
Lipinski, meanwhile, still has a considerable amount of support on his side. The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times have both endorsed Lipinski, and he still holds a significant amount of support from the area unions. As a result, Lipinski has a chance of being reelected, but it is not expected to be a landslide for either candidate.