WASHINGTON — Democratic House hopeful Marie Newman on Monday picked up the endorsement of the SEIU Illinois State Council as the public service unions try again to oust Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., from the 3rd Congressional District seat.
The SEIU Illinois State Council 3rd District members are SEIU Local 1 and State Council President Tom Balanoff, SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer and SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana President Greg Kelley.
SEIU Local 1 and SEIU Healthcare have ownership stakes in Sun-Times Media.
The significance of the endorsement at this stage is the ability of the SEIU unions to activate its grassroots networks for Newman. In 2018, the SEIU Illinois State Council endorsed Newman about six weeks before the primary. The endorsement for 2020 is coming further in advance of the March 17 Illinois primary.
“We’ve got over 11,000 members who live in the 3rd District,” Balanoff told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“What we will do is put a lot of people on the street. We’ve got activists in the 3rd District and we will put them on the street.”
Lipinski, of Western Springs, faces two major rivals in the March primary for the 3rd Congressional District seat: progressives Newman, from LaGrange, and Rush Darwish, from Palos Hills, who runs a photo and video production company. Lipinski is a social conservative.
In the March 2018 primary, Lipinski defeated Newman by only 2,145 votes, or 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. The district includes parts of Chicago’s Southwest Side and takes in south and west suburban turf.
“I think Marie is a very strong, well-known candidate. It was close last time. I think people have had it with Dan Lipinski,” Balanoff said.
The difference between 2018 and 2020 is, Balanoff said, “I think people understand that Marie Newman has a real good shot at beating Dan Lipinski. It was close last time and I think that got a lot of people’s attention. … Her politics are in sync with the SEIU and I think much more in sync than Dan Lipinski’s are.”
Newman has been endorsed by multiple progressive groups, with the SEIU nod the latest.
The SEIU Illinois State Council in a statement said it “supports candidates who have demonstrated a strong commitment to fighting for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice for our state’s working families.”
On Monday, a fourth candidate jumped in the primary — Charles Hughes, a Southwest Side resident who has run for local offices. There is no evidence to show Hughes is running any substantial campaign.
Newman has had an edge in endorsements because she ran in 2018. Balanoff told the Sun-Times he was not aware of outreach from Darwish.
The Darwish campaign statement said in part, “Throughout the course of this campaign, we have attempted to meet with the SEIU State Council multiple times, and had our requests to meet ignored at every turn. The fact that a union which represents tens of thousands of people of color across this state would ignore the only candidate of color in this race is both antithetical to their mission and a slap in the face to their members.”
The Lipinski campaign statement said in part, “There is nothing surprising about an endorsement from this particular union for this particular candidate.
“…Last election, Congressman Lipinski had the endorsements of more than 25 labor and employee unions, including AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 31, and the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge #7. He looks forward to earning their support again in his upcoming election.”