Democratic Voters Unsure of Choice for Congress
As Democratic challengers criticize Dold, nearly half of likely voters remain undecided.
Nearly half the people who plan to vote in the March 20 Democratic Congressional primary are not sure of their choice as the five candidates continue to snipe at the man they hope to challenge, Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth).
The first published poll on the Democratic primary, conducted by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), shows 49 percent of likely voters in the 10th Congressional District are not sure who they will support. The PCCC backs Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman, one of the candidates.
Of the 410 likely Democratic voters surveyed who have a favorite, 23 percent favor Sheyman and 21 percent like Deerfield management consultant Brad Schneider. With a margin of error of 4.8 percent, Sheyman and Schneider are in a statistical tie.
The poll also showed Long Grove business owner John Tree with five percent and Mundelein Attorney Vivek Bavda with two percent. The survey did not ask voters about a fifth candidate, Haninesville mathematician Aloys Rutagwbira.
Sheyman has been running since April and Schneider declared his candidacy in May. Bavda joined the race in September, Tree announced his candidacy in November and Rutagwbira filed petitions Dec. 27.
Voters Prefer Progressive
The poll also asked potential voters if they preferred a more progressive or more moderate candidate. Of those surveyed, 64 percent want a more progressive representative and 25 percent would rather have a moderate.
The PCCC considers the results of its poll a sign people are more likely to flock to Sheyman than Schneider. “Democratic primary voters overwhelmingly want a bold progressive candidate not a conservative Democrat like Brad Schneider,” PCCC Neil Sroka said.
Schneider rejects the notion he is a conservative. “He’s going to go to Congress to stand up for middle class jobs, protect a woman’s right to choose, preserve Medicare and Social Security and defend our environment against big polluters,” Schneider campaign spokesperson Jarrod Backous said.
Sheyman was thrilled with the results. He sees it as a sign the work he has done through an organization of 500 volunteers is paying off.
“Voters are hungry for a bold, progressive candidate who has a proven track record of standing up with backbone and conviction for middle-class families," Sheyman said.
Candidates Criticize Dold
Meanwhile, all five candidates took aim at comments Dold made while speaking to the Glenview Sunrise Rotary Jan. 5 and the Northbrook Rotary Tuesday about his bipartisan efforts and frustration with stalemates in Congress.
Both Tree and Schneider criticized Dold for being too close to the Tea Party, while Sheyman took him to task for signing a pledge never to raise taxes under any circumstances.
“Congressman Dold is part of the problem in Washington, caving in to the tea party on the debt ceiling and even voting against extending the payroll tax cut to score cheap political points,” Tree said.
Dold was one of two Republicans to ask House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to accept the Senate version of the payroll tax holiday extension, according to statements Dold made to Patch Dec. 22.
Schneider was critical of Dold for partisan votes. “Like a good Republican soldier, Bob Dold has fallen in line and voted with his party time and again, consistently putting party before the interests of the people in the Tenth District,” he said.
Dold campaign spokesperson John Blessing countered the five Democrats’ partisan attacks, claiming the North Shore Congressman has been rated as “one of the more centrist” representatives.
“He has often times been one of a handful of Republicans to stand up and vote pro-environment, pro-choice and for sensible gun control,” Blessing said. “Congressman Dold is proud of his record representing the district.”