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Local News

Will County progressives candidates saw mixed primary election results

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Marie Newman, candidate for Congress in IL-03, speaks to reporters after receiving the endorsement of Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Marie Newman, candidate for Congress in IL-03, speaks to reporters after receiving the endorsement of Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Progressive candidates saw mixed results in last week's primary elections.

The result that stood out to Suzanna Ibarra, the chair of the Will County Progressives, was Marie Newman's apparent win in the 3rd Congressional District.

Newman was the top vote-getter over incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs.

"I was very happy that Marie won," Ibarra said. "She's not as radical as people think or that they make her out to be."

Lipinski argued in campaign literature and social media posts that Newman's support for policies like Medicare for All are "extreme" and accused her of heading a "tea party of the left."

Still, Lipinski said his anti-abortion stance was used against him during the campaign. Will County residents even protested at his Lockport office earlier this year because of his support for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case which legalized abortion.

But Ibarra said Lipinski's stance on abortion rights was just a "catalyst" for some Democratic voters turning against him. She argued his voting record wasn't progressive enough on a myriad of other issues like health care and LGBTQ rights.

Still, Ibarra said she wanted to see Rachel Ventura win her primary challenge against incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, in the 11th Congressional District. Foster won the Democratic nomination with 58% of the vote.

"Sometimes it takes more than one run because a congressional district is huge," Ibarra said.

Ventura, in an email to supporters last week, encouraged them to not walk away from her campaign disappointed.

"Get involved in other campaigns for November's election, support your local candidates and tell your representatives that you expect more," Ventura wrote.

Ibarra added that there was one silver lining in that race. She said Foster's office has been more responsive recently after activists tried to pressure him to support policies like Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.

"Maybe we changed his mind on at least one of those," Ibarra said.

She was pleased with other victories, like Laurie Summers in the Will County Coroner race. Overall though, Ibarra said one big lesson for local progressives was the power of well-funded campaigns.

Despite having dedicated volunteers making phone calls and knocking doors, she said progressives will have to do a better job fundraising in future elections.

"The only thing we're lacking is money," she said. "And once we get that part of it completely down, we're going to be unstoppable."

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