Dold, Schneider Try to Defy Labels
Leaders of both parties see winning candidates.
What does it mean for the voters of the 10th Congressional District when the Tea Party decries Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) and Democratic challenger Brad Schneider of Deerfield just won a spirited primary after being labeled as “Republican Light” by one of his opponents?
Local party leaders along with both Schneider and Dold expect it to mean an issues-based campaign for the seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
People like Northfield Township Democratic Committeeman Mike Kreloff of Northbrook and Moraine Township Republican Chairman Lou Atsaves of Lake Forest also think it will mean a contest between moderates with broad appeal.
“The Tea Party members aren’t very enthralled with Dold,” Atsaves said. “When the extreme right wing of my party calls him a moderate, he must be one.”
Kreloff, who was one of the first Democratic officials to try to temper the bickering between supporters of Schneider and Ilya Sheyman, thinks Schneider has the credentials to attract voters with Democratic values who supported Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) as a congressman.
“The way we win is by addition,” Kreloff said. “Brad exhibits the kind of person who can attract that kind of voter as well as maintain the base. Those are the people we need. Let’s hope it happens.”
Schneider came under criticism from Sheyman and a number of groups supporting the Waukegan community organizer for donations made to Kirk and a few other Republicans. The contributions were made in support of the United States Israel Relationship.
Kreloff Led Effort to Cool Primary
While Kreloff led the Northfield Township Democrats effort to endorse no candidate in the primary, other Democrats want some persuasion from Schneider to offer enthusiastic support in the fall.
“We worked for 10 years to unelect Kirk and Brad supported him,” Nancie Blatt of Lincolnshire said. She was one of the founders of the Tenth Congressional District Democrats. She plans to vote for Schneider though she did not support him in the primary.
After supporting former state Rep. Lauren Beth Gash (D-Highland Park) in her narrow loss to Kirk in 2000, Schneider displayed independence when he started to support Kirk. He did not support Dold.
“He was a leader,” Schneider said of Kirk. “He had a keen understanding of the U.S.-Israel relationship. It wasn’t for nothing he was mentioned at the Aipac conference,” he added referring to the group’s annual Policy Conference earlier this month. “(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu mentioned him three times in his speech.”
Dold Breaks With Party on Transportation Bill
Earlier this week, Dold showed his own independence by sending a letter to House leadership along with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Charles Bass (R-NH), Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) and Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale) supporting the Senate version of the transportation bill.
“After talking to people in the District we determined what small business needs is certainty,” Dold said explaining his reason for breaking with party leadership. “A series of short term extensions provides too much uncertainty.” Funding for mass transit was a key reason for Dold’s decision.
Both Schneider and Dold plan a positive campaign distinguishing themselves to citizens on the issues. “I hope it will be about how we are perceived on the issues by the people who will vote,” Dold said.
Some of Schneider’s ideas for general election contest echo the same concern for small business voiced by Dold. “What is the best way to get small business investing in the future again,” Schneider said of his concerns. “Is the government working? Is Congress working?”
Atsaves does not expect negative campaigning to come from either Dold or Schneider, but he worries about the effect of special interests.
“Outside groups are the ones who could turn it negative,” Atsaves said. “I’ll be sorry to see the super pacs come in here.”