Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=209779
Story Retrieval Date: 3/5/2015 12:43:47 PM CST
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Chicago) declined to endorse Barack Obama for president in an interview last week, risking backlash should Democrats regain control of the House this November, an expert said.
In an interview at the LaGrange Stone Avenue Metra station last Thursday, Lipinski said he isn't "endorsing anyone publicly," a stance that differs from some of his Democratic colleagues in the House from Illinois.
"The biggest risk Lipinski faces is if the Democrats win the House in November, which is unlikely," said Dick Simpson, professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "There's a possibility Lipinski wouldn't be assigned any of the important committee chairmanships because of his stance. If the House stays Republican though, there won't be any change."
Spokesmen for U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Chicago), U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) and U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Belleville) all said that their candidate endorsed President Barack Obama in his bid for re-election.
Lipinski, who represents Illinois' 3rd Congressional District, has made a habit of going against party lines.
In 2007, he was one of only 25 House Democrats to vote against a bill banning job discrimination based on sexual orientation. He also voted in favor of making the Patriot Act permanent, voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and voted in 2006 to increase security measures at Mexican-American border, which included expansion of the border wall. All of the bills had little Democratic support.
Lipinski, who is running against Republican Richard Grabowski, hasn't faced a strong challenger in any election cycle since he first ran 2004. He won with 69.7 percent of the popular vote in 2010.
Simpson said Lipinski isn't worried about perception.
"He sees that he represents his district," he said. "That's what he cares about."