Lipinski to Announce Retirement Friday

Posted August 12, 2004 at 4:57pm

Veteran Rep. Bill Lipinski (D-Ill.) is expected to announce Friday that he will retire at the conclusion of this Congress, setting in motion a plan for party leaders to anoint his son to succeed him on the November ballot.

Democratic committeemen in Lipinski’s South Side Chicago 3rd district are scheduled to meet Tuesday, at which time they are likely to pick Daniel Lipinski to run in his father’s place.

Lipinski, 66, was nominated to seek a 12th term in March. The deadline for candidates to withdraw from the November election is quickly approaching, with general election ballots set to be certified Aug. 27.

Neither state party officials nor Lipinski’s office would confirm the Congressman’s decision to leave at the end of the year, although there has been wide-spread speculation about his retirement plans for two months.

A man answering the phone in Lipinski’s district office would only say: “There will be an announcement tomorrow.”

A spokesman for the state party would only confirm that Democratic leaders are scheduled to meet Tuesday.

“I assume that there would be some action to take at that time,” said Steve Brown, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Illinois.

The younger Lipinski left his job as an assistant professor of political science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville earlier this summer and returned home to prepare to run in November. Campaign materials bearing Dan Lipinski’s name have already been ordered, according an online Illinois political newsletter.

The 3rd district is a solidly Democratic seat and the younger Lipinski is expected to cruise to victory against Republican Ryan Chlada in the fall election.

Lipinski, the third-ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has specialized in transportation issues throughout his 22-year tenure in the House. Since word of his imminent retirement first surfaced, there has been speculation that he is eyeing a lobbying job tied to that industry.

Prior to being elected to Congress in 1982, Lipinski served as an alderman in Chicago’s 23rd ward. He still serves as a Democratic committeeman in that ward — one of the last places in the country where old-style machine politics still thrives — and the decision-makers in his Congressional district include three of the most powerful men in state politics.

Lipinski has close ties to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, state House Speaker Michael Madigan (also a 13th ward committeeman and chairman of the state Democratic Party), and 19th ward Committeeman Tom Hynes, a former state Senate President.