Rep. Sean Casten beat out fellow Rep. Marie Newman in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 6th District on Tuesday, coming out on top in the member-versus-member battle for a Chicago-area seat.
Redistricting forced the incumbents to fight it out for the same seat in an intense, sometimes awkward, race. While the new boundaries favored Newman, Casten benefited from the profile — and campaign fundraising prowess — he built while flipping a battleground seat in the 2018 election.
Casten’s victory came after a quiet conclusion to the campaign, following the recent death of his 17-year-old daughter. Before the tragedy, both Democrats were in an ethics battle: Newman is facing a House ethics probe looking into whether she promised to hire a political rival in exchange for his support. Casten has faced scrutiny for his 2018 campaign’s dealings with a super PAC funded by his father.
Both Newman and Casten defeated incumbents in recent elections. Casten took out Republican Peter Roskam in 2018, while Newman defeated then-Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski in 2020.
Castin significantly outraised Newman and poured more money into TV ads, including one last week where he declared that he is “100 percent pro-choice and always will be,” which started airing just days before Roe v. Wade was overturned. He was also backed by 16 House Democrats.
Tuesday’s primary doesn’t fully answer questions about how much the end of Roe matters to voters in 2022, but the Newman-Casten faceoff may have provided some hints, given Newman’s track record on abortion rights. Newman ousted Lipinski in the last cycle largely because of his anti-abortion stance, she openly talks about her own abortion and had support from abortion rights groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. She was also backed by EMILY’s List, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and eight House Democrats.