Chicago-area Rep. Dan Lipinski has long been one of the more socially conservative members of the House Democratic caucus. As recently as 2014, Lipinski responded to a candidate questionnaire and said he would support an amendment in the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Lipinski hasn’t gotten any better in the age of Trump: This year alone, Lipinski was one of just three Democrats who voted in favor of a GOP bill to ban federal funding of abortions. Lipinski has also voted to overturn an Obama-era Health and Human Services rule that prevented states from withholding funds to Planned Parenthood and other healthcare groups that also provide abortions. Illinois' 3rd Congressional District backed Barack Obama 56-43 and supported Hillary Clinton 55-40, so Lipinski isn’t voting with Team Red because he’s worried about a GOP opponent.
Lipinski has only attracted token primary challenges for the last decade, but that may change soon. Marketing consultant Marie Newman has formed an exploratory committee ahead of a possible bid, and she says she’s likely to announce in the spring. Newman has wasted no time arguing that Lipinski is too conservative for his seat, noting that he was one of the few Democrats to vote against Obamacare in 2010. Newman has lined up some well-known local consultants and has ties to anti-Trump groups like Indivisible, which could help make connections. With progressives infuriated at Trump and donations to anti-Trump candidates high, Newman may be able to haul in the type of cash she’d need to get her name out in the expensive Chicago area.
However, Lipinski will not be easy to beat. Back in 2008, Lipinski faced a well-funded primary challenge from Mark Pera, but Lipinski beat him 54-25. Lipinski has been an ally of Chicago’s powerful Democratic machine, and he’s also close to local labor groups. Lipinski and his father, Bill Lipinski, have represented this area for a combined 18 terms, and plenty of voters are still loyal to the family. There are also still many local Democratic primary voters who share Lipinski’s views on abortion and won’t see them as a liability at all. It’s also possible that, even if a majority of Democratic voters have soured on Lipinski, other candidates will run and split the anti-Lipinski vote enough to secure him renomination. But with Democratic voters inflamed at Democrats who are giving Trump any support, there’s probably never been a better time to unseat Lipinski.