In back-to-back radio interviews, 10th Congressional District candidates Bob Dold and Brad Schneider are focusing on their independence from their respective party lines in the effort to win swing voters in the up-for-grabs district.
Republican Congressman Dold, of Kenilworth, is using the word "independent" nearly as much as "Republican" in his description of his tenure in office. Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat, is choosing to spend time with voters in the district instead of attending the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. later this summer.
The interviews on WBBM Newsradio 780's At Issue can be heard at http://chicago.cbslocal.com/show/at-issue. Both are part of a series of Congressional interviews the station is producing in collaboration with the Daily Herald.
Dold, a social liberal and fiscal conservative in relatively similar fashion as his predecessor, now Sen. Mark Kirk, defeated Democrat Dan Seals to win his seat in 2010 as part of a Republican wave that took control of the U.S. House.
Yet, because of the once-a-decade redistricting process, the 10th District was redrawn by Illinois' Democratic lawmakers to eliminate some traditionally Republican neighborhoods and add areas of the North Shore that tend to vote Democratic. It stands at the top of the list of districts the Democratic Party hopes to "take back" to regain control of the House next year.
"The 10th district has a reputation of thoughtful independent leadership," Dold, of Kenilworth said, noting he's proud of the fact that he's stood up to the Republican Party line on several different issues. That includes sponsoring legislation that would help protect Planned Parenthood and being one of the few to sponsor -- and vote for -- a bipartisan budget plan. Dold uses the health care law's proper name -- the Affordable Care Act -- over "Obamacare", the term many of his colleagues prefer, and describes himself as an "independent" almost as much as a Republican on the campaign trail.
"I am a Republican, but certainly I vote (independently). I think independent is important in the idea I want to look at both sides," he said in the interview.
Schneider cut at Dold's claim of independence, noting the bipartisan budget proposal Dold touts his support for didn't get off the ground and "part of the reason was the process."
He called the largely Republican, 87-member House freshman class of 2010 a "do-nothing group" and said if elected, he plans to "make progress by building coalitions. One of the things we don't see is people working together."
Schneider says he'll be staying home from the convention in September because he needs "to be out in the district and be talking to voters."
His description of his reasoning is similar to that of U.S. Sen. Clare McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat also locked in a close race, who has noted she wants to spend more time in her home state, while Republicans say she's trying to create political space between President Barack Obama and herself.
"If I wasn't running for Congress I probably would (attend)," Schneider said.
The new 10th District runs from the Wisconsin line as far south as Maine Township and includes the North Shore as well as parts of Libertyville, Vernon, Fremont, Avon, Grant, Warren and Lake Villa townships.