Sean Casten defeated Marie Newman and Charles Hughes in the Democratic primary for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. Casten and Newman are members of the U.S. House of Representatives running for re-election in the same district due to redistricting.
The race was one of six U.S. House primaries with two incumbents running against each other in 2022. Including Newman, nine U.S. House incumbents have lost re-election so far this year.
Newman represented Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District. Casten was the incumbent in the redrawn 6th District. According to Chicago-based political consultant Frank Calabrese, 41% of the constituents in the new district were from Newman’s district, and 23% were from Casten’s.
Both Casten and Newman cited climate change as a top issue. Casten, a member of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and the co-founder of an energy recycling company, said he supported market-based climate change legislation. Casten introduced several climate-related bills, including the End Oil and Gas Tax Subsidies Act. Newman sponsored the America’s Clean Future Fund Act, which proposed applying a carbon fee on the use of certain fuels and using the proceeds to fund other energy initiatives. Newman criticized Casten for not supporting the Green New Deal. Casten said the Green New Deal “understands the urgency and doesn’t understand the complexity [of the problem].”
The League of Conservation Voters and Clean Energy for America endorsed Casten. The Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition endorsed both Casten and Newman.
Both incumbents also focused on abortion. Newman spoke about her experience getting an abortion when she was 19 years old, saying, “It was not a shameful act. No woman should feel guilty for making a decision over her body, no matter the circumstances.” Newman criticized Casten for voting for George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole, Republicans she called anti-choice.
Casten said his voting record was 100% pro-choice. In a campaign ad, Casten said, “Women have a fundamental right to make their own decisions, especially when it comes to abortion.” Casten added, “I fought against defunding Planned Parenthood. I always have and always will oppose any measure, any attempt, to diminish or take away your rights.”
Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) endorsed both Casten and Newman.
Casten criticized Newman for not disclosing the details of a settlement between her and a man who said Newman offered him a job in exchange for him not to run against her in the 2020 Democratic primary. Newman called the allegations a distraction and said Casten should address an FEC complaint alleging that his campaign coordinated with a Super PAC during the 2018 Democratic primary.
Newman was first elected in 2020, when she defeated incumbent Rep. Dan Lipinski (D) in the Democratic primary. Newman won the general election 56.4% to 43.6%.
Casten was first elected in 2018 after defeating six-term incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam (R) 53.6% to 46.4%. Casten’s win was the first time a Democrat won in the 6th district since 1972. Casten was re-elected in 2020 52.8% to 45.4%.
Two election forecasters rate the general election as Likely Democratic, while one rate it Lean Democratic, meaning the primary winner will likely have an edge in the general election.