Say what you will about the way Dan Lipinski was ensconced in his seat as a U.S. Congressman back in 2004 – and we’ve said plenty over the years – he’s evolved into an interesting legislator.

As a Democrat, his conservatism – particularly on social issues – appears at odds with his own party. He also voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, although he later voted not to repeal it.

Those stances are sure to make Lipinski unpopular with Democrats, who don’t need someone mucking up initiatives that a Democratic president would like to enact.

On the other hand, Lipinski has been a strong advocate for the district and, as a member of the House Transportation Committee, believes that the federal government can do a world of good through the funding of critical infrastructure and is not going to sit idly by and watch his opponents across the aisle derail those projects.

While he may not toe the party line at all times, his independent streak wins points with us, and we’re narrowly endorsing Dan Lipinski over his challenger, Farah Baqai, a resident of Chicago’s South Side, who has been a Chicago police officer for nine years.

While Baqai is earnest and would be more reliably orthodox when it comes to voting alongside her Democratic colleagues, she is very green as a congressional candidate and she has a huge hill to climb if she has any hope of defeating Lipinski.

Her positions will resonate with more liberal Democrats and she says she’d be an ally of President Obama in Congress. She advocates for access to affordable healthcare for all Americans, comprehensive immigration reform and freedom of choice for women

But Baqai would also be very vulnerable to a challenge from the GOP in November in a way that simply won’t affect Lipinski. There are some who believe Lipinski’s views are more Republican than Democratic. We believe he is principally a centrist who is conservative on social issues, particularly ones important to him as a Roman Catholic, such as abortion and contraception.

Until someone stronger can challenge Lipinski in this district he gets our endorsement.