The race for U.S. representative of the Third Congressional District of Illinois drew nationwide attention last year, and that figures to be the situation again in 2020.

Incumbent Dan Lipinski, a Democrat who has held the seat since 2005, fended off challenger Marie Newman in the primary race, then easily won the general election.

Newman, a progressive, is again challenging Lipinski, who is known as a conservative Democrat. Also in the race is Rush Darwish, a Palestinian-American who also has progressive stances. Abe Matthew, an attorney from Bridgeport, recently withdrew his candidacy and endorsed Newman.

On the Republican side, Mike Fricilone, a Will County Board member, is running, and a recent media report said Art Jones, a former neo-Nazi who believes accounts of the Holocaust are exaggerated, is running again. Jones was the lone Republican in the race in 2018 and lost handily to Lipinski. Catherine O’Shea, of Oak Lawn, is also a Republican candidate.

There’s no reason to think the Democratic primary won’t be close again. Lipinski defeated Newman by about 2 percent after the candidates faced off in front of hundreds of voters at an emotional forum in February 2018 at Moraine Valley Community College.

The primary election will be held March 17, 2020, and the candidates will have to focus on the 19th Ward, where voters always turn out to the polls in high numbers.

Immigration and job creation will be heavily discussed topics, and it will be interesting to see if Darwish attracts voters who might otherwise have supported Newman.

Voters will also see if Fricilone or O’Shea—who are better candidates than Jones and his backward views—can keep things close in the general election.

The Third District spans from the southwest suburbs to the Bridgeport neighborhood, and it includes parts of Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood.

Lipinski, a St. Ignatius College Prep graduate, visits the community often, but Newman, who grew up in the parish of St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church, developed strong support here last year.

The nation will surely have its eyes on the presidential election throughout much of 2020, including the general election in November.

However, local voters will be zeroed in on whether Lipinski will retain his seat. There’s little doubt that residents will go to the polls and cast their votes. And until March 17, they should remain steadfast in completing their research on the candidates.