Congress

After bailing last year, Lipinski set to return to March for Life

Illinois Democrat survived a competitive primary challenge from the left in 2018

Illinois Rep. Daniel Lipinski has been announced as a speaker at this year’s March for Life rally in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After bailing on last year’s March for Life during a heated Democratic primary, Illinois Democrat Daniel Lipinski is once again on the list of speakers for the annual anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C., later this month.

Organizers announced Tuesday that the congressman will be among three Hill lawmakers who will address the march on Jan. 18. He’ll be joined by Montana Sen. Steve Daines and New Jersey Republican Rep. Christopher H. Smith

Lipinski, one of the last remaining anti-abortion Democrats in the House, has attended the march in the past and was billed as a featured speaker ahead of last year’s rally. But facing a competitive primary challenge from the left, he didn’t show at last year’s march, days after two of his fellow Illinois Democrats in the House backed his challenger, marketing consultant Marie Newman. 

Their primary in Illinois’ 3rd District was the climax of an internal debate among Democrats after the 2016 election about whether there was a place for abortion opponents in the party. 

Lipinski told BuzzFeed News at the time that his decision not to attend last year’s march was because he didn’t want to share the stage with President Donald Trump, who had been added to the program at the last minute. The congressman did attend the Chicago March for Life. 

Newman tried to paint Lipinski as a “Trump Democrat” during the primary. NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Human Rights Campaign, Service Employee International Union, MoveOn.org, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and EMILY’s List partnered on a joint independent expenditure program that attacked Lipinski. “You can’t fight Trump when you agree with them,” the narrator said in one of the super PAC’s TV ads

Lipinski narrowly survived the primary, defeating Newman 51 percent to 49 percent. He benefited from super PAC spending on his behalf, too, as well as from strong local connections in the Chicago area. He had been handpicked to succeed his father in 2004, which meant a Lipinski had been on the ballot for nearly 36 years.

After conceding the race, Newman’s campaign said she would continue to “fight to oust Lipinski in 2020.”

Also watch: ‘Down with NDP,’ dabbing in the House and the ‘club soda of beers’ — Congressional Hits and Misses

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.