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Lipinski Rolls To Easy Win In 3rd District

While Election Night was less of a nail-biter for President Obama than many predicted, the three local incumbent congressmen on Tuesday’s ballots Ñ Dan Lipinski (D-3rd), Luis Gutierrez (D-4th) and Bobby Rush (D-1st) Ñ were expected to win easily, and they did.

Lipinski fended off a spirited challenge from Republican Richard Grabowski, a political newcomer from Hometown. With 99 percent of precincts counted by Wednesday morning, Lipinski was winning by a margin of 68.8 percent (157,668 votes) to 31.2 percent (71,501 votes). The congressman, who said he is looking forward to his fifth term in office, has won by somewhat larger margins in some of his past races, but the district boundaries have changed since his last race two years ago.

ÒI am prepared for either outcome,” said Grabowski, a materials supervisor for a manufacturing company who was in good humor as he awaited results with family and friends at Fox’s Pizza in Orland Park. When the first results were posted, showing he and Lipinski had two votes apiece, he joked that Òthis is the closest it might be all night.”

ÒI think we ran a good campaign,” said Grabowski. Ò(Lipinski) spent a lot of time in the suburban part of the district, which he wouldn’t have done if we weren’t running a strong campaign.”

While the new district boundaries still include Lipinski strongholds in Chicago’s 23rd and 13th wards, as well as much of Burbank, Bridgeview and Oak Lawn, the district now stretches farther through suburban Cook County and into Will County.

Grabowski ran as an anti-Chicago machine, fiscal and social conservative, garnering support from many suburban Tea Party groups.

Lipinski, whose victory party packed the clubhouse at Flagg Creek Golf Course in Countryside, kept an eye on the presidential race as well as his own.

In addition to his parents, former Cong. Bill Lipinski and his wife, Rose Marie, Dan Lipinski’s sister Laura Broeking, and her son, Conor, were there to celebrate with him, along with election workers, several suburban mayors, newly elected judges Terry Gallagher and Ed Maloney, and legislators such as state Rep. Mary Flowers (D-31st), who was unopposed in her race. State Sen. Steven Landek (D-12th), the mayor of Bridgeview, was also expected to attend.

The congressman was confident that Obama would win re-election, and stressed the need for Congress to work together now that the divisive presidential election is over.

ÒWhat we need to do now, is have people come together as Americans,” he said. ÒWe can’t afford to have four more years of this (partisan bickering).

ÒI’m very happy to be re-elected to the new 3rd Congressional District. Everyone is talking about being bipartisan, like it is a new thing. But that is something I have done since I first ran for office (eight years ago).

ÒThat is what this is all about, helping people. I am working to get middle-class people a fairer shake.”

He said that while national issues such as the deficit and healthcare, must be addressed, he said that being a congressman is also about Òthe local issues, constituent services.”

ÒThat is what keeps me going. When times are tough, we keep going,” he added, thanking his wife and parents for their support, as well as local residents.

ÒI am going to celebrate tonight, but next week, we will be back in Washington,” he said. ÒThe work never stops.”

He said that among major issues are tax deductions, which are due to expire at the end of the year. He also mentioned the Òfiscal cliff” on the horizon in January, when mandated spending cuts put in place to reduce the deficit are expected to take effect.

He said afterward that he expects nothing drastic will happen before the end of the year regarding tax rates or spending. ÒI predict that we will kick the can down the road for six months, to give us time to work on a comprehensive deficit reduction deal,” said Lipinski.

He predicted it would look something like the Simpson-Bowles debt plan, the shorthand name for the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, named after co-chairs Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, a former Republican senator and Clinton chief of staff, respectively.

Among other things, the plan calls for a $200 billion reduction per year in discretionary spending, and $100 billion in increased tax revenues.

In the meantime, Lipinski said he hopes the Senate will pass the manufacturing bill he worked on in September.

Lipinski said that with Obama being re-elected, the House keeping its Republican majority, and Democrats increasing their majority in the Senate, Òthere needs to be a change of attitude” in Washington for things to get done.

ÒThere is too much partisan politics. I can work with anyone, and I am hoping more people will join me,” he said.

The 4th District includes a large section of the Southwest Side, stretching as far south as 59th Street, and west to Pulaski Road, taking in much of West Elsdon, Archer Heights and Gage Park.

Gutierrez, who did not campaign much locally, won easily over Republican Hector Concepcion. As of Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of precincts counted, his margin of victory was 83.2 percent (129,165) to 16.8 percent (26,170 votes) for Concepcion.

Cong. Bobby Rush (D-1st) also won easily over Republican Donald Peloquin, the mayor of Blue Island, with 73.9 percent (224,275) compared to 26.1 percent (79,325) for Peloquin, with 98 percent of the votes counted as of Wednesday morning.

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