CHICAGO (CBS) – It is rare for a veteran incumbent to face a primary challenge, but it is happening in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.

Seven-term Democrat Dan Lipinski faces a challenge from Marie Newman, who paints herself as more progressive.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, the reliably Democratic seat is being watched nationwide to help gauge the direction of the party.

“It’s important they listen to the middle class,” said one voter

Lipinski, who is a moderate anti-abortion Democrat, is being challenged by more progressive activists in his own party.

“We need to welcome more people in, not push more people out,” Lipinski said.

National groups promoting gay rights, and women’s and workers’ issues, are reportedly spending $1 million to challenge Lipinski and support Marie Newman

Newman is pushing a traditional progressive Democratic approach—affordable health and child care and a $15 minimum wage, for example.

The race is nearly even by some accounts.

“He is not centrist,” Newman said of her opponent. “He is a full-on Republican. I am a true blue Democrat.”

Newman’s ads have tried to align Lipinski with President Trump

However, the incumbent warns that after losing the White House in 2016, the party should not give in to its more liberal side.

“Hillary lost the election to Donald Trump because the Democratic Party wasn’t inclusive enough and didn’t talk about jobs and trade.”

“I am not too liberal,” Newman responded. “We are working hard for middle-class families and to get healthcare for all.”