Pro-Palestinian Democrat Rep. Marie Newman Loses Illinois Primary

Newman was defeated by Rep. Sean Casten, who was strongly endorsed by the pro-Israel organization Democratic Majority for Israel

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
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Democrat Marie Newman lost to Rep. Sean Casten in the race for a Chicago-area seat in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Democrat Marie Newman lost to Rep. Sean Casten in the race for a Chicago-area seat in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast /AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON - Rep. Marie Newman, the first-term lawmaker who quickly fashioned herself into one of the most vocal pro-Palestinian lawmakers in the Democratic caucus, was defeated in Tuesday's Illinois primary.

Newman lost to Rep. Sean Casten, a center-left Democratic incumbent from Illinois, whom she was pitted against due to the state's redrawn Congressional districts. While the state's new 6th district technically holds more of Newman’s current constituents than Casten’s, his share of the district voted significantly more Democratic in the last election cycle.

Newman, 57, drew national attention earlier this year amid a House ethics scandal surrounding allegations that she promised a Palestinian-American academic a job if he opted not to run against her in the 2020 primary. She denied any wrongdoing, dismissing it as a politically motivated, meritless complaint filed by a right-wing organization.

Democratic Majority for Israel, the pro-Israel organization founded by veteran pollster Mark Mellman, endorsed Casten and its Super PAC spent more than $540,000 in support of him and against Newman, who has become one of the main objects of the pro-Israel community's derision due to her omnipresence on all letters, resolutions and public postures in support of Palestinians and critical of Israeli policy.

"Newman proudly joined a small group in the House that seeks to undermine the U.S.-Israel relationship at every turn. Among her other anti-Israel actions, Newman was one of only eight Democrats who inexplicably voted against replenishing Israel’s defensive Iron Dome system which saves Israeli lives – Jewish and Arab alike," DMFI PAC said in a statement, also highlighting the ethics probe and Casten's record.

J Street, which had previously endorsed both Newman and Casten, similarly opted only to endorse Casten during this cycle. The liberal pro-Israel organization had another victory when its endorsee Delia Ramirez defeated DMFI-backed Gilbert Villegas in Illinois' 3rd district. J Street had spent $140,000 in Ramirez' favor compared to DMFI's $157,000 in favor of Villegas.

“In an election cycle that has seen the ultra-hawkish right-wing group AIPAC and its allies like DMFI spending unprecedented sums to attack principled progressives in Democratic primaries, Delia Ramirez’s win is a great blow to their efforts," said J Street Vice President for Public Affairs Kevin Rachlin.

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