There’s a consistent theme to the Democratic primary races in DuPage. Newcomers who only recently took office thanks to the emerging Democratic wave in the suburbs have a relatively easy ride ahead. Meanwhile, the entrenched, Chicago-style Democrats on the county’s eastern fringe face challenges from progressives. When looking at these races, it’s important to remember that in Illinois, primary candidates for Congress do not need a majority to win. A plurality is enough to carry the primary election.
Here’s the slate of Congressional candidates DuPage Democrats will see on the March 17th ballot.
Marie Newman – Newman came up just short in her primary challenge to longtime incumbent, Lipinski. She’s back this time, and recently garnered support from Senator Cory Booker. Newman has outraised Lipinski, a rare feat for a primary challenger. Apart from Booker, national Democrats are mostly waiting this one out, but Lipinski remains by far the most vulnerable sitting Democrat in this primary.
Rush Darwish – Darwish is a reasonably well-funded Palestinian activist running to publicize a cause. He has no shot, but his campaign helps dilute the opposition to Lipinski, giving him that little boost he might need to maintain a plurality against Newman.
Daniel Lipinski (I) – A Madigan ally serving in Madigan’s Congressional District, Lipinski is one of the last of the conservative, old-school Chicago Democrats. He’s a conservative Catholic who opposes abortion and gay rights. His Chicago district is the heart of the old machine, and he leans on it heavily for his political survival. In a single-party district, Lipinski holds his seat by siphoning just enough support from voters who would be Republicans in a competitive district.
Charles Hughes – Hughes is a random guy clogging the ballot. His responses to the Sun-Times’ candidate survey make entertaining reading. For example, when asked, “What are the three most important issues in your district on which the federal government can and should act?”
His response: “Charles m hughes has plan.”
Plan on, Charlie.
Brian Burns – A progressive activist looking to make his mark in this solidly Democratic district, Burns is running a real campaign based on legitimate credentials. Someday Quigley will retire and someone needs to have a campaign infrastructure ready to take this seat. This is the kind of campaign that builds that infrastructure.
Mike Quigley (I) – Quigley is a long-time stalwart of the Chicago wing of the Democratic Party. He is relatively moderate, but he’s maintained a solid pro-choice record, helping him avoid the progressive primary challenges that have dogged Lipinski.
Sean Casten (I)
Raja Krishnamoorthi (I) – Following a path cleared by Tammy Duckworth, Raja was part of the vanguard of new Democratic representatives in the suburbs. He’s carved out a stronghold here, with a powerful following. He’s not facing real opposition.
William Olson – A random character who signed up to run. Also claims to be running a write-in campaign for Senate.
Inam Hussein – Hussein is some guy who was upset that Krishnamoorthi met with the Indian Prime Minister during a US visit.
Bill Foster (I) – Along with Duckworth, Foster was one of the first Democratic Congressional candidates to win in the Chicago suburbs. He’s kept the base happy and built a strong position for himself.
Rachel Ventura – Will County Board Member and rising progressive activist, Ventura seems to be placing herself in line as a successor. Foster is probably safe. His voting record leaves no major openings from the left, but Ventura is the kind of candidate who’s been upending otherwise unremarkable primary races in recent years. This race shouldn’t be competitive, but it bears watching.
Lauren Underwood (I)