By Bob Skolnik
With more than 90 percent of precincts reporting, Marie Newman appears to be on the verge of ending one of the longest political dynasties in Illinois.
With 474 of 500 precincts in, Newman has about a 3,800-vote lead over incumbent Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-Western Springs) in the hard-fought Democratic primary in the 3rd Congressional District, which runs from the Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport southwest to near Joliet and includes the Lyons Township portions of Brookfield and Riverside.
The outcome is still in doubt because a significant number of early voting and mail-in ballots from the city of Chicago have not yet been counted.
As of late Tuesday, Newman, LaGrange businesswoman, had gotten 47.9 percent of the vote, compared to 43.6 percent for Lipinski.
Rush Darwish and Charles Hughes trailed far behind with 6.2 percent and 2.3 percent of the vote respectively.
But, Newman appeared confident of victory, writing on Twitter just before 11 p.m., "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."
However, Lipinski was not in a mood to concede just yet.
"As we close this evening, there are still votes to be counted in this race," Lipinski said in an emailed statement. "It is very close. We may have to wait overnight or into the morning for the final vote count. I want to thank everyone for their support."
Lipinski, one of the last remaining anti-abortion Democrats serving in the House of Representatives, has served since 2005, when he succeeded his father, Bill Lipinski, who had served in the House for 22 years.
After winning the Democratic primary in 2004, Bill Lipinski suddenly announced that he would not be a candidate in the general election, a move which allowed Democratic ward and township committeemen to pick a replacement candidate. They chose Dan Lipinski, who at the time was teaching political science at the University of Tennessee.
Two years ago, Newman nearly defeated Lipinski, losing by just over 2,000 votes in the 2018 Democratic primary. This time, with two more years of campaigning under her belt, which resulted in greater name recognition Newman, an indefatigable campaigner, may have done enough to win the race.
Newman attacked Lipinski as being out of step with his constituents.
"Lipinski is too Republican for me," said one Newman voter in Brookfield who declined to give her name after voting Tuesday at Congress Park School.