To this point, all of our endorsements have been for Democrats that are running for seats held by Republican incumbents, often in very deeply red parts of America. However, from the outset, we recognized that our goal of seeking more and better Democrats wherever we thought we could find them would at some point lead us to endorse a primary bid against an incumbent.
We think that Illinois' 3rd district is the perfect example of this, and the perfect race to make our first endorsement of a candidate seeking to oust a member of their own party. Currently held by Daniel Lipinski, the 3rd is a D+6 district centered in suburban southwestern Chicago, and has been in Democratic hands - specifically the hands of the Lipinski family - since 1993. We believe that the time has come for Democratic control of the district to move in a more progressive direction, especially when it comes to gun control, and are happy to endorse Marie Newman as the Democrat to do just that.
Oftentimes, primary challengers run against sitting Democrats with an almost apologetic tone to their campaign. Newman is not one of those challengers. She's very upfront about Illinois-03 deserving a "real Democrat," and calls herself a "progressive" in the very first sentence on her website. While there is conventional wisdom that the district is socially conservative and Lipinski more accurately captures the tenor of its Democrats, he has not yet run in the type of environment 2018 promises, and Bernie Sanders carried his district in 2016.
Newman, a business consultant who founded anti-bullying organization Team Up to Stop Bullying, isn't just running a contrarian campaign. Her website lays out a progressive agenda of her own, from supporting healthcare for all to fighting to accept refugees and directly challenging Lipinski's support for taking reproductive rights away from women. She is endorsed by who's who of progressive organizations, and while other national gun regulation groups have yet to take a position on the race, NARAL, the Human Rights Campaign, MoveOn, Democracy for America, and just today Lipinski's fellow Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Luis Gutierrez have all lined up in support.
On the issue of guns, Newman would provide that all-important improvement that we exist to promote. While Lipinski did vote against concealed carry reciprocity, he was notably absent from any other Democratic efforts to get gun regulation legislation heard in the House. Newman, meanwhile, lays out an actively progressive agenda:
We can simultaneously respect the right to own a gun as well as recognize that it is simply unacceptable that 33,000 Americans are being killed with firearms each year. This is a public health epidemic in our country that Congress must address. I support common-sense gun safety laws that include: 1) those on the federal “no-fly” list of suspected terrorists should not be allowed to buy guns; 2) keeping guns out of dangerous hands through universal background checks including private sales and gun shows; 3) requiring those convicted of domestic violence or under court orders of protection to turn in their guns.
By contrast, Dan Lipinski has been mostly silent on gun control measures. The Patch said “discovering Dan Lipinski’s stance on gun control issues is a difficult process.”
We know that other pro-gun egulation organizations do not involve themselves in Democratic primaries, but we believe this is an instance - likely the first of many - where our guiding principles demand it. When the opportunity arises to replace a Democrat with another that will be more pro-active in achieving those principles, we feel compelled to speak up. In this case, we endorse Marie Newman in her primary race because we are sure that she will do exactly what our hope is for this project - provide better representation for the majority of Americans that believe in gun regulation.