Progressives gang up on Lipinski
CHICAGO — Major progressive interest groups and organizations — from the powerful Service Employees International Union to EMILY’s List to NARAL — are lining up behind a first-time candidate in the hopes of ousting Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.)
The politically active SEIU Illinois state council today announced it would back businesswoman Marie Newman in the March 20 primary against the conservative Democratic congressman, citing Lipinski’s refusal to support a $15 minimum wage, a major campaign issue for the labor group.
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SEIU boasts 10,000 members in Chicago-based 3rd District.
Lipinski, one of the last conservative Democrats in Congress, has been in the left’s cross hairs as never before this cycle. Progressives cite the veteran congressman’s steadfast opposition to abortion rights and past votes on immigration, including opposition to the DREAM Act, as out of step with his district.
“Congressman Lipinski’s refusal to support a $15 minimum wage for working people shows how deeply out of touch he is with the working families of his district,” said SEIU Illinois State Council President Tom Balanoff. “Whether it’s voting against Obamacare or voting for restrictions on a woman’s right to choose, it is clear Congressman Lipinski does not share the progressive values of his constituents.”
Lipinski has served in Congress since 2005, following a 22-year run by his father, Rep. William Lipinski. That longevity means Newman has a long way to go toward overcoming his name ID — and creating her own.
Lipinski has secured critical support from the AFL-CIO but the backing of both SEIU and EMILY’s List — a major force in supporting women who support abortion rights — is likely to boost her resources and ability to get out her message. Lipinski has more than $1.6 million in the bank, compared to Newman’s $236,000. Today, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is fundraising for Newman in Chicago.
Lipinski’s campaign called the SEIU news “a shame,” accusing the group of dividing organized labor and noting that the AFL-CIO found Lipinski had voted with working families 92 percent of the time.
“At a time when everyone in organized labor should be focused on defeating Republicans and winning control of Congress so we can fight President Trump from a position of strength, it is a shame that SEIU is instead choosing to divide labor and distract from the battle against Trump,” Lipinski’s campaign said in a statement.
Last month, two of Lipinski’s Chicago-area colleagues, Reps. Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutiérrez, broke with congressional custom and endorsed Newman.
Other Newman backers include NARAL, MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and the Human Rights Campaign.
“The reality is that Dan Lipinski has not shown himself to be a leader that women and families can depend on,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a statement. “He has put women’s reproductive health care in jeopardy and sought to end protections against discrimination This is not an acceptable way to govern — and it’s certainly not what the people of Illinois’ 3rd District deserve … With Trump and Congressional Republicans working around the clock to take us backwards, we need an ally like Marie fighting for progress. It’s time for change.”
February 2, 2018 at 01:22PM