On Tuesday, the primary in Illinois’ third congressional showed the failure of Cheri Bustos’ toxic plan to defeat progressive challenges to Blue Dog incumbents who are out of sync with their constituents. Anti-Choice, anti-healthcare, homophobic, anti-immigrant conservative Blue Dog/New Dem Dan Lipinski was beaten by progressive candidate Marie Newman. (Remember, the DCCC chose to undermine Newman’s campaign even though Lipinski refused to endorse Obama’s reelection in 2012mand is currently working with the GOP in demanding that the Supreme Court overturn Roe v Wade. Can you believe this sack of garbage is the Pelosi candidate?)
It isn’t uncommon for it to take two cycles for a political newcomer to displace a long-time incumbent. Tuesday Newman, with considerable help from progressive organizations and with endorsements from Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, AOC, Cory Booker, Ro Khanna, Julián Castro, Jan Schakowsky, Pramila Jayapal, Jay Inslee, Ayanna Pressley, and lots of other progressives– both local and national– overcame the DCCC + GOP operations to keep Lipinski in office.
As of the February 26 FEC reporting deadline, Lipinski had outspent Newman $1,348,228 to $1,193,371. But what was different from last year is that the flood of outside spending from Republican and other conservative groups on behalf of Lipinski failed to overcome progressive countermeasures. For example, the Blue Dog SuperPAC’s $39,527, the National Association of Realtors’ $50,686 and the slimy No Labels PAC’s $80,092 was easily countered by NARAL alone ($211,468). The Republican Party’s attempt to help Lipinski through the Susan B. Anthony List this year, failed to move the needle the way it did in 2018. The Republican Party’s Women Speak Out PAC spent around $20,000 to help Lipinski and hurt Newman in the midst of spending to bolster Trump and attack Bernie and Elizabeth Warren.
Progressive unions like the SEIU and the National Nurses United spent independent money to help Newman, while conservative unions like the Plumbers and Pipefitters spent for Lipinski.
1,141 Blue America members contributed $14,912.56 on these five ActBlue pages + another $2,800 as the result of a Blue America contest.
Marie couldn’t have stood up to the DCCC and their conservative and GOP allies without grassroots help. So… thanks to everyone who gave and you otherwise helped Marie win. And… please consider contributing to the other candidates on those pages.
Arizona progressive Eva Putzova is running for a seat held by another Blue Dog, one even further to the right than Lipinski. Tom O’Halleran was a Republican state legislator whop pretended to be a Democrat because he got in a fight with Arizona’s GOP. But he still votes with the Republicans more than almost anyone in Congress– including Lipinski. Yesterday Eva told me that “Despite the efforts of the Democratic Party establishment to defeat Marie Newman in Illinois 3rd congressional district, she prevailed against reactionary, blue dog incumbent Dan Lipinski. This is a great victory for her, and an inspiration to me and other progressive challengers around the country. We know for a fact that voters support the progressive agenda that Newman ran on: Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, Get Money out of Politics, women’s reproductive freedom, a complete, humane immigration reform etc. I am running on those issues as well, against a corporate-DCCC-funded incumbent. Marie’s successful campaign is a harbinger of what the future holds in store for so-called ‘moderate’ status-quo Democrats when challenged by well-organized progressive challenger.”
Shahid Buttar, the progressive primary winner in San Francisco who will face Pelosi in November, noted that “Conservative Democrats have held progressives politically hostage for the past three generations. But we are finally showing them the door. With all the might of the corporate Democratic party, Speaker Pelosi couldn’t hold the seat of her Blue Dog friend, Dan Lipinski. Reproductive authoritarianism has no place in the Democratic Party, and it’s disappointing that Speaker Pelosi would do so much to support it. Our campaign has brought the fight for the future to her door, as her first November challenger from within the Democratic Party in her 30 year career. I’m looking forward to joining Marie in expanding the Squad in the next congressional session.”
Robin Wilt, the Monroe County progressive taking on useless New Dem Joe Morelle noted last night that in the early days after declaring her 2020 run for NY-25, she “was endorsed by NYC Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams. His was our campaign’s first major endorsement, and it came at a time when the establishment was busy tipping the designating scales in favor of my opponent– a long time Party Boss and New Dem who represented a step backwards from the progressive leadership of NY-25’s departed former Representative, Louise Slaughter. Jumaane, in his endorsement of me, said, ‘We need people in government who will stand up for the right causes and against the right people, in Rochester, throughout New York, and in our nation’s capital.’ Jumaane’s sage words reflect the fight that we are waging within the Democratic Party to center the priorities of the people over those of corporate and party elites. Since Jumaane’s clarion call, there have been a cacophony of voices calling on progressives to ‘vote blue no matter who.’ But Marie Newman’s victory shows that members of the modern Democratic Party do not have to settle for half a loaf. In safe Democratic districts such as IL-03, where Lipinski won 73-26% in 2018, we have an opportunity to lead. It is not enough to merely resist the most deleterious policies of the GOP. Doing so enables the environment that produced Trump. It is only through the strength of a people-powered movement that we can turn the tide.”
Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) was an early endorser of Marie’s campaign, despite DCCC hysteria and opprobrium. Yesterday she told me that she’s “thrilled that Marie Newman, who ran a terrific grassroots campaign, won her primary last night! A strong supporter of Medicare for All, immigrant justice and combating climate change, Marie is passionate about serving everyone in her community. She will be a principled progressive in Congress, and I look forward to welcoming her into the Congressional Progressive Caucus and working with her to make bold change a reality. Marie’s victory shows what we have been saying for some time: Medicare for All is not just great policy, it is also great politics. In state after state, exit polls have proved that progressive policies like Medicare for All and College for All are widely popular. These are smart and popular policies– and every single Democrat should be behind them.”
I spoke with one of my DCCC contacts who told me that no one there cared one way or the other. “No one likes Lipinski anyway and most people here were rooting for Marie to beat him… Besides we won in Texas [meaning they protected Henry Cuellar against Jessica Cisenros] and… we’ll beat all the other so-called progressives running against our incumbents, so [in a friendly way] f_ _k you.”
When I pressed about Bustos’ and Pelosi’s support for Lipinski, it was just how they had to do that so the Blue Dogs wouldn’t all stop paying dues again and further undermine the party. When I reminded him that until she decided to run for leadership Bustos herself was a Blue Dog and that she still votes like one, I was told to “grow up.” Call ended on that pleasant note.
I say it in every letter, but the entire Blue America team really does mean it: Thanks for always doing what you can to make a better world.