Rep. Daniel Lipinski, an anti-abortion-rights Democrat from Illinois, said Wednesday he was unlikely to win his party’s nomination for another term, more than 15 hours after The Associated Press called the primary in favor of his opponent, Marie Newman.
Lipinski, the first incumbent in Congress to lose this election cycle and one of only a handful of self-described pro-life Democrats in Congress, said there were still outstanding ballots.
“But as the numbers stand right now, it appears I will not prevail,” he said during a news conference that was streamed live on Facebook.
Lipinski said he had called to congratulate Newman, a former advertising agency executive and consultant who founded the nonprofit organization “Team Up To Stop Bullying.” During her campaign, she endorsed “Medicare for All” and has pledged to reject campaign donations from corporate PACs.
It was the abortion issue, though, that Lipinski said loomed over the race and fueled big outside money invested on Newman’s side.
Shunned by colleagues
“I was shunned by many of my colleagues,” Lipinski said. “The pressure in the Democratic Party on the life issue has never been as great as it is now.”
Still, he said, he had no regrets.
“I could never give up protecting the most vulnerable human beings to win an election,” he said.
Outside organizations that backed Newman began celebrating late Tuesday night.
“Marie is a fierce advocate for women and families and a powerful force for change,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, in a statement.
Women Vote, a super PAC connected with Emily’s List, put about $1 million into the race. All told, outside groups, including abortion rights groups NARAL and Planned Parenthood, spent about $1.5 million.
Newman raised nearly $1.7 million to Lipinski’s $1.2 million.
The race was a rematch of a 2018 contest the incumbent narrowly won by just over 2,100 votes. With 99 percent of Tuesday's vote counted, Newman was leading by more than 2,450 votes.
Last week, Lipinski's campaign released a video criticizing Newman for not conceding on primary night two years ago — then Lipinski did the same thing. Lipinski spoeskman Phil Davidson said his boss did not concede Tuesday night because he wanted to wait on outstanding ballots.
Lipinski said that fears over the coronavirus as voters went to the polls Tuesday may have affected turnout, but added that he would not second guess the decision to hold the election.
Lipinski said he planned to spend the next nine months working to help the district, including with measures to help with the coronavirus crisis.
He has served in Congress since 2005, winning the seat of his father, William. He said he was proud of his family’s work on behalf of the district.
“We can talk more about the legacy later on,” he said.
Graham MacGillivray contributed to this report.