Democrats back Casten over Newman in Illinois’ 6th District

Newman had ousted another Democratic incumbent in 2020

Rep. Sean Casten defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Marie Newman in Tuesday's 6th District primary in Illinois. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Sean Casten defeated fellow Democratic Rep. Marie Newman in Tuesday's 6th District primary in Illinois. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 28, 2022 at 10:14pm, Updated June 29, 2022 at 5:36am

Illinois Rep. Sean Casten, a two-term Democrat from the Chicago area, survived a primary Tuesday against fellow incumbent Rep. Marie Newman for their party’s nomination in the 6th District. 

Casten had 63 percent of the vote to Newman’s 33 percent as of 9:06 p.m. Central time, when The Associated Press called the race. His win puts an end to the reelection effort of Newman, a freshman who won a primary in 2020 against Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the last congressional Democrats to oppose abortion rights. She may finish out her current term but will not be in the next Congress when it convenes in January.  

Illinois’ new congressional boundaries, redrawn as part of the nationwide redistricting and reapportionment process after the 2020 census, resulted in the two incumbents running against each other. 

Casten, who flipped a GOP seat in the 2018 blue wave, outraised Newman, hauling in $3.2 million this cycle to her $1.5 million.

He will face Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, who won the six-candidate Republican primary. Pekau had 39 percent with an estimated 89 percent of the vote counted. The AP called the nomination for him at 12:27 a.m. Central time. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race as Likely Democratic in November. 

Most of the outside money in the race went to oppose Newman, federal election reports showed. The biggest outside spender in the 6th District was the pro-Israel DMFI PAC, which invested more than $500,000, nearly all going to opposition to Newman. Although Casten and Newman have had similar voting records during the 117th Congress, Newman voted against funding for an Israeli defense system known as Iron Dome. 

In the final weeks of the campaign, Casten’s family suffered the death of the congressman’s daughter, and he limited his public appearances. 

Though Newman had fresh experience winning a Democratic primary, the circumstances this cycle were different from 2020, when she alone had the support of abortion rights groups in the effort to unseat Lipinski in the 3rd District. This year, Casten and Newman both were endorsed by such groups as Planned Parenthood.  

Before winning election to Congress, Newman was a marketing and advertising executive with a history of community involvement. She founded Team Up to Stop Bullying after her son, Quinn, was bullied in elementary school. Newman has a transgender daughter, Evie, and has long advocated for LGBTQ rights, a mission she has brought to Capitol Hill.

Newman faced ethics questions after winning her seat but said those matters were a nonissue on the trail.

“Literally, I have knocked on over 7,000 doors, we’ve had 150 meet-and-greets, and it’s never been asked about,” she said the week before Tuesday’s primary. The House Ethics Committee was still looking into the matter as of earlier this year.