Marie Newman exploring rematch against Rep. Dan Lipinski

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The primary contest between incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski and Democratic primary challenger Marie Newman is one in which a super PAC tied to the No Labels group has gotten involved, paying for ads and a direct-mail campaign slamming Newman. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

WASHINGTON — Democrat Marie Newman, who came close to defeating Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., in the 2018 primary, was in the Capitol on Tuesday, and she told me she was exploring another run against him.

“I did launch a formal exploratory a couple weeks ago,” Newman said.

Newman said she has held about 40 “meet and greets” in the Third Congressional District and will decide on a 2020 rematch in about two to three months.

I spotted Newman outside the House chamber where she could have — but did not — run into Lipinski, since votes were ongoing at that time.

When Illinois Democratic Reps. Lauren Underwood and Jan Schakowsky each happened to walk by as we were talking, they warmly greeted Newman. Underwood offered a hug.

Schakowsky endorsed Newman over Lipinski, a rare move of a member going against another incumbent, especially one from the same state.

Headed into 2020, the progressive wing of the Democratic party is gaining strength, and Newman could benefit from that.

In the primary last March, Lipinski defeated Newman by only 2,145 votes, or 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

The district includes several parts of wards on the Southwest Side and stretches into the western suburbs. A big vote for Lipinski from old Democratic machine city precincts contributed to his victory.

The 2018 primary was Lipinski’s biggest challenge yet, with Newman and her progressive, abortion rights and labor allies battling Lipinski’s anti- abortion and centrist supporters, including the “No Labels” organization.

Lipinski said in a statement, “I would be surprised if Marie Newman runs again after her angry, mean-spirited speech on TV on election night.

“….I will be running for re-election, but right now I’m focused on working in the new Democratic House to deliver relief for middle class families with better job opportunities, improved infrastructure, more affordable health care and college education, safer gun laws, and lower taxes.”

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., told me recently she will continue with the DCCC policy of supporting incumbents.

“You know, what we should all do is our job,” Newman said. “My job is to win CD 3 if in fact I choose to run. And her job is to protect incumbents. So let’s both do our jobs super well.”

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