“…it took Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List a long time to start diverting money toward her. [Marie] Newman’s eventual primary loss to [incumbent Dan] Lipinski was so close that it seemed possible that an earlier willingness to take a chance on her candidacy could have meant a different result.” –Rebecca Traister, Good and Mad
Whether we like it or not, the 2020 election primary season is upon us, and I’m predicting that Illinois’ 3rd House District will provide one of the more interesting and most-watched primary contests. Incumbent Democrat Dan Lipinski has repped that district for a long while now. It’s a liberal, safe blue seat in suburban Chicago, and for reasons only nepotism and old-school Chicago political machinery can explain, it’s been held by a DINO since 1993. Dan Lipinski “inherited” this congressional seat from his father William in 2005; William Lipinski had held the seat since 1993. The younger Lipinski is anti-choice, anti-immigration, anti-marriage equality, anti-Obamacare, and is against virtually every idea and bit of desperately needed legislation to prevent the world from burning to the ground, rectify the new Gilded Age, and smash the patriarchy to a million little pieces. In other words, he’s a conservative who decided to put a “D” next to his name and run for a consistently blue House seat. In a district with a median age of 37, all Dan apparently does is events for senior citizens who need help with their VA benefits or complain about “the milleniums” playing their music too damn loud (snort). I mean, his campaign slogan is, literally, “Commonsense Leadership for the 3rd District.” I’m not making that up. He put it on t-shirts!!! Oh dear, you have coffee in your nose now. I’m sorry, I’ll give you a minute to clean it up.
You can see how he’s ripe for a good, bloody primary challenge. Which is exactly what he got in the 2018 midterm elections from one Marie Newman, a liberal woman who actually sounds like a Democrat when she speaks. Sadly, she didn’t prevail, but the rub here is that she only lost this primary contest by 2.2 points. Yeah. Less than three measly points stood between Lipinski and Newman, a political neophyte who had zero infrastructure. To me, that says the fine people of IL-3 are experiencing some good old-fashioned Lipinski Family Fatigue.
Marie Newman is challenging Lipinski again in 2020. Which sounds all nice and hopeful until you remember the new DCCC cartel ruling, the one about blacklisting any consultant firms who work with primary challengers to Democrat incumbents. Of course the DCCC won’t back or help her in any way, and consultant firms are already getting scared off. But here’s the interesting wrinkle. You know who is endorsing and helping her? EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood PAC. This could be significant.
One major complaint from the 2018 race was that both powerful, deep-pocketed PACs didn’t help her until it was basically too late – and yet she still almost won. Now they’re showing up early, and breaking their usual norm of being in lockstep with the DCCC, who will certainly help Lipinski. (Although, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Representative Cheri Bustos, chair of the DCCC, was publicly pressured to cancel a fundraiser on Lipinski’s behalf.) I think, even with the bullshit DCCC blacklist rule, Lipinski could be toast. In addition to EMILY’s List, Newman has picked up a handful of significant endorsements from the likes of Senators Gillibrand and Sanders, plus Representative Ro Khanna. Being an anti-choice Democrat in the era of recent bassackwards abortion rulings in Alabama, Missouri, and Louisiama just isn’t a good look. A quiet congressman from a single Illinois district is now garnering national attention – and for all the wrong reasons. In other words, it’s not just EMILY’s List paying attention to this primary race this time.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s pathetic that Democratic establishment is championing him instead of just letting the voters speak and neutrally observing the falling chips. But, turning tides and women’s ire might be enough to jump the hurdle that is the D-Trip. I don’t live in IL-3 but I chipped in $25 to Newman’s campaign. If you’re able, I’d urge you to do so as well. When it comes to our reproductive freedoms being assaulted, the wolves in wolves’ clothing are numerous, well-funded, and determined; we simply cannot afford to give up a precious reliable Dem seat to a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Smashed Cucumbers with Za'atar and Feta
- 5 Persian cucumbers, the cute little ones that usually come shrink-wrapped around six to a package
- Kosher salt
- 2 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. za’atar
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Crumbled or diced feta, for serving
- Gently smash cucumbers with a rolling pin just to break them open. Tear into irregular 2" pieces and place in a medium bowl; season lightly with salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes and up to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, cook garlic and oil in a small saucepan or skillet over medium-low heat, turning garlic a bit, until golden brown and very fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Add za’atar and red pepper flakes and remove from heat. Stir to combine. Let cool until just warm and stir in lime juice; season dressing with salt (you won’t need much, use a gentle hand here). Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Drain cucumbers, discarding any liquid they have released. Add to bowl with dressing and toss several times to coat. Top with feta. (I think it’s easier to plate the dish either individually or family style before adding the feta. Otherwise it just gets smeared and smashed everywhere and I think this tastes better with nice feta chunks. YMMV.)