Abortion advocates and pro-choice progressives, hellbent on clearing Congress of any remaining pro-life Democrats, scored a major victory in Illinois Tuesday night, ousting one of the last remaining Democratic abortion opponents, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL).
Lipinski lost to Marie Newman, a former “marketing consultant” backed and a dedicated abortion proponent, who was backed by all major abortion advocacy groups, and who attacked Lipinski over his record on “reproductive rights” in a well-funded advertising blitz aimed at turning out a progressive voter coalition in Illinois’ typically moderate 3rd Congressional district.
“With 494 of 500 precincts reporting Wednesday morning,” National Review reports, “Newman led the incumbent Lipinski by less than 3,000 votes. Polling experts suggested the coronavirus outbreak could have played a decisive factor, with Lipinski’s strong support among older voters likely waning as seniors elected to stay home.”
Lipinski has not yet conceded to Newman, telling local media in Chicago Wednesday morning that he’s waiting for all absentee and write-in ballots to be counted, but it will be difficult for Lipinski to overcome the difference in votes.
Newman, however, claimed victory Wednesay night, trumpeting the “progressive coalition” that propelled her to victory.
I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition that helped bring about much needed change in our district. We are going to work together to lower health care costs, to fight climate change, and to build an economy that works for everyone. #NewDayInIL03 #IL03
— Marie Newman (@Marie4Congress) March 18, 2020
“I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition that helped bring about much needed change in our district,” she wrote on social media.
This is the second time Newman challenged Lipinski; she lost narrowly to the pro-life Democrat in 2018. In 2018, however, the Democratic party was still reticent about enshrining abortion rights in the group’s official platform. That’s changed, though, with nearly all of the contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination acknowledging that support for abortion rights is critical to membership in the modern Democratic party.
In some cases, as with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), candidates for the presidential nomination have even supported an unofficial abortion rights “litmus test,” suggesting that any opposition to the practice of abortion, from conception until nearly the moment of birth, is unacceptable.
Abortion rights advocates even forced the Democratic party to drop support for Lipinski, drumming Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, until she abandoned plans to host a fundraiser for Lipinski. Bustos tried to head off the progressive surge, telling Illinois Democrats that “every dollar spent trying to defeat one of our Democratic incumbents is a dollar that we cannot spend defeating Republicans,” but it was of no use.
Lipinski, the last remaining pro-life Democrats in the House of Representatives (the only others, Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, are in the Senate), became a prime target for ouster largely because of his outspoken opposition to abortion, as well as his opposition to Obamacare and same-sex marriage. Newman’s victory, although couched in progressive terms, was almost entirely about the practice of abortion.
Newman earned the support of NARAL, Emily’s List, Planned Parenthood, and other major abortion rights groups, as well as the Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) fronted Justice Democrats, and she focused her campaign ads on Lipinski’s opposition to abortion, even going so far as to claim Lipinski “marched with the opposition” when he took part in the March for Life.
“He is no better than many of the Republicans out there,” Newman said in one of her speeches. “He is so one-issue focused, it affects all of his decision-making. He’s preoccupied night and day by [abortion].”
After Tuesday, it is clear that Democrats see anyone who opposed abortion as an opponent, regardless of party affiliation.