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Trans Judge Candidate Wins, Anti-LGBTQ Congressman Loses in Illinois

Marie Newman and Jill Rose Quinn

Several LGBTQ and ally candidates had success in the Illinois primary Tuesday, with four out judicial candidates winning, including the state’s first transgender elected official, and a pro-LGBTQ progressive defeating one of Congress’s most conservative Democrats.

The judicial candidates all won races to serve on the Cook County Circuit Court; Cook, the state’s most populous county, includes Chicago.

Jill Rose Quinn, an attorney who is trans, won the Democratic primary to fill a vacant seat on the court, and there is no Republican candidate, so she is assured of election in November. “It’s not just a victory for me, it’s a victory for everybody out there who’s marginalized, everybody who’s different, everybody who’s trans,” Quinn told the Chicago Tribune.

She had the support of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and she was rated highly by bar associations. “Jill Rose Quinn has fought for fairness, equality and justice her entire life and her perspective and experience will be invaluable for our courts and our community,” Lightfoot said in her endorsement.

Quinn will be the fourth out trans judge in the nation and the first out trans person elected to any office in Illinois, according to the Tribune.

Out Democratic judicial candidates Michael Forti and Mary Catherine Marubio also won their primaries to fill vacancies, and another, Levander Smith, who had been appointed to the bench last year, was unopposed in his run for election to the post, Windy City Times reports. They have no Republican opposition in November. Out judicial hopefuls Brad Trowbridge, James Crawley, and James T. Derico Jr. lost their Democratic primary races, and Deidre Bauman was trailing in hers.

Marie Newman, a strong LGBTQ ally, won the Democratic nomination for U.S. House from the Third Congressional District, which includes parts of Chicago and some suburbs. She bested incumbent Dan Lipinski after having unsuccessfully challenged him in 2018.

Lipinski, who succeeded his father, William, in the House seat, is one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress. In 2015, he was the only Democrat to cosponsor the First Amendment Defense Act, which would have prevented the federal government from penalizing individuals and businesses that discriminate if they do so because of a religious or moral stance against marriage equality. The legislation has never passed. For years, he refused to support LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation, but in 2019 he finally agreed to back the Equality Act. He has also opposed abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act.

“What a journey,” Newman said in a statement, according to Windy City Times. “I am bursting with pride and gratitude for the amazing coalition who helped bring about much needed change in our district. We are going to work together to lower healthcare costs, to fight climate change, and to continue building a hospitable community for everyone, no matter where you come from.”

In 2018, the Republican nominee in the heavily Democratic district ended up being Arthur Jones, a proponent of Nazi ideology, as he was the only one who ran in the GOP primary. The party disavowed him. He ran again this year but got only 10 percent of the vote. A more mainstream Republican, Mike Fricilone, won the GOP nomination to face Newman in November.

Newman received congratulations from Hillary Clinton and thanked her.

Several out state representatives, all Democrats, were unopposed in their primaries, including Kelly Cassidy, Greg Harris, Lamont Robinson, and Sam Yingling. Harris is House majority leader. Another, Yoni Pizer, who had been appointed last year to fill a vacancy, lost the primary to a straight candidate, Margaret Croke, in a race that had several other gay contenders. Out candidate Ty Cratic also lost his state House primary, and Jacob Meister lost a second bid to be the Democratic nominee for clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court.

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