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Marie Newman officially jumps in Democratic primary against Rep. Dan Lipinski

Dan Lipinski and Marie Newman

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (left) and Marie Newman, who is running again against him in the 3rd Congressional District Democratic primary. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

WASHINGTON – Democrat Marie Newman, after spending several months exploring a rematch against Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., on Tuesday made it official and said she would run again for the seat, setting up the biggest Chicago-area congressional 2020 primary.

The 3rd Congressional District race comes in what may well be a different political climate, with Newman’s progressive wing of the party gaining strength. At the same time, the House political operation, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, led by Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., is committed to supporting incumbents, a policy some activist freshmen Democrats oppose.

In 2018 Lipinski had the biggest fight for his political life, which began when his father, former Rep. Bill Lipinski, D-Ill., maneuvered to hand his long-held seat to his son.

In a release, Newman “pointed out that Lipinski’s ultra conservative views are way out of step with his district.”

“It’s time for a real Democrat to represent us in Washington, not the conservative son of a ward boss. Those days are over,” concluded Newman, who noted that the landslide election of Lori Lightfoot as Chicago mayor and the recent losses of longtime aldermen and political bosses show Chicagoans are hungry for progressive change.

In the March 2018 primary, 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.

Newman and her progressive, abortion-rights and labor allies battled Lipinski’s anti-abortion and centrist supporters, including the “No Labels” organization. The “No Labels” team during the primary hid their spending behind front groups, exposed by the Chicago Sun-Times.

In January, when Newman was in Washington seeking support for her rematch, 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 reelection, 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.”