Ethics Problems Doom Progressive In Illinois House Primary

Democratic Rep. Sean Casten defeated progressive Rep. Marie Newman in a member-vs.-member primary after redistricting forced both into the same district.
Rep. Marie Newman successfully ousted a Democratic incumbent in the 2020 primary but lost Tuesday to a fellow House incumbent, Sean Casten.
Rep. Marie Newman successfully ousted a Democratic incumbent in the 2020 primary but lost Tuesday to a fellow House incumbent, Sean Casten.
Bill Clark via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Sean Casten won a member-vs.-member Democratic primary in Illinois against the more progressive Rep. Marie Newman on Tuesday night, in part due to an ongoing ethics investigation into Newman.

Newman had become one of the more outspoken progressives in Congress, standing out for her liberal positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for frequently voting with the progressive “Squad.” She won her seat in 2020, ousting moderate Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in what was seen as a major victory for the progressive movement.

Illinois lost a congressional seat following the 2020 census, and new lines forced Newman into the same district as Casten, who was first elected in 2020. But compared to Lipinski’s frequent breaks with the Democratic Party line, Casten is a mainstream liberal.

Newman had a theoretical advantage in the race, since more of her old district than Casten’s was included in the new one. But her ethics problems dogged her: The Office of Congressional Ethics began investigating her after she admitted to promising a job to a potential primary opponent in 2020 and agreeing to take certain positions on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Democratic Majority for Israel, which has campaigned against several progressive House candidates this midterm election cycle, aired ads attacking Newman.

“The Office of Congressional Ethics was unanimous: There’s substantial reason to believe Marie Newman may have violated federal law by promising a taxpayer-funded job to an opponent if he agreed not to run against her,” a narrator in the ad said.

The seat, which includes substantial chunks of the Chicago suburbs, leans toward Democrats.

Before You Go

Popular in the Community