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2018 Midterms

In the Hot Seat: Marie Newman is Giving Dan Lipinski a Run For His Money

A new candidate is shaking up the race for the third congressional district in Illinois.

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It’s never easy to take on a Democratic establishment candidate as a newcomer. But former businesswoman Marie Newman has turned a normally quiet race for the third Congressional district of Illinois into international news.

She’s taking on longtime representative Daniel Lipinski in the primary on March 20. Lipinski has represented the district since 2005 after his father retired from the seat and convinced the Illinois Democratic Party to let his son take his place on the ballot.

Since then, Lipinski has consistently campaigned as a Democrat but governed as a Republican. Though he may not be exactly the same as members of the GOP, his presence in Congress is a threat to progressive values nonetheless.

Lipinski was the sole Democrat to vote against the Affordable Care Act in 2010. He is staunchly anti-abortion and has a long history of being against rights for the LGBTQ community.

His voting record reads more like a moderate conservative than it does a modern Democrat. To call Lipinski a Democrat is an insult to everything the party has worked towards throughout its history. He represents everything that Democrats have been trying to stop within the party and his backwards ideology is harmful to the country.

Newman is the first true challenger that Lipinski has faced since taking office. She has never held public office, but her campaign platform proves she intends to lead as a true progressive if elected. She started as a virtual unknown, but has since made a name for herself both in Illinois and then in the country as a whole. The Democratic primary has become one of the most talked about in the U.S. Newman was recently endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders, and earned the support of Illinois representatives Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez.

Voters will have a choice between two polar opposite candidates running in the same party. For years, Lipinski has represented his district based on his own beliefs rather than those of his constituents. This primary battle is choice between a campaign powered by donations from Super PACS and the wealthy, or one powered by passionate people yearning for change.

In the age of President Trump, it is vital for the Democratic Party to work together to fight for better days. It’s evident that Lipinski cannot be trusted to uphold the party’s beliefs. Newman may not have the same experience or background in politics as Lipinski, but she gives voters a chance at a fresh start.

The most recent Public Policy Poll shows Lipinski with a  meager two-point lead over Newman with just about a week to go in the primary. These numbers have fluctuated throughout the race, but Newman’s surge in support proves she has the power to vote Lipinski out of office.

It seems as though Lipinski is scared of the threat his opponent poses as well. Lipinski said he believes that the same thing that happened to the Republican Party could happen to Democrats if the party doesn’t stop the “tea party of the left.” When asked, Lipinski said that his district has not become more liberal since he began to represent it. But he seems to be turning a blind eye to the desires of his constituents once more with that statement. Bernie Sanders won the third district in the 2016 Illinois primary against Hillary Clinton, and voters have yet to have a chance to express their displeasure with Lipinski at the voting polls until now.

As always, voter turnout is essential to the outcome of this race. But the excitement coming from Newman supporters in the race is something that hasn’t been seen in a long time. This campaign hasn’t been easy for her by any means, but the fact that she’s gotten this far show that she can defeat Lipinski in the primary. And frankly, she is the only candidate running that deserves to win.

It is time for a new voice to represent this district. With over ten years in Congress under his belt, Dan Lipinski had his chance to secure his job, but he’s failed at doing so. If all goes right, the primary results may very well show him just how out of touch he is with the district he claims to represent.

Newman’s candidacy has invoked an enormous amount of passion and interest from voters, it is now just a matter of it being proven at the voting polls.

If elected, she’ll face a neo-Nazi in the November general election. The historically liberal third district will likely remain blue no matter who wins the primary, which is why it’s important for Newman to win now.

The days of blue-dog Democrats are long over. It’s time for a more progressive, inclusive platform to rise to defeat the Republican Party so as to get the U.S. back on track. Lipinski represents everything that Democrats must avoid to ensure their platform is sustainable. If the party is lucky, Newman will win because of the incredible passion that’s formed around her campaign. She is the better candidate and will do right by the district as its representative in Congress.

Democrats have a chance to prove that they are serious about the future of their party with this election. And hopefully the power of the people will triumph over the power of the establishment once more with this race.

Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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