The candidates for the 52nd House District seat say their top priority in Springfield would be improving the state's economic climate, and yet social issues at times have taken center stage in the heavily contested race.
Whereas Republican David McSweeney's negative attacks on opponent Dee Beaubien mainly attempt to align her with Chicago political bosses intent on raising taxes, the independent candidate counters by shining a spotlight on what she labels McSweeney's "extreme views," particularly regarding reproductive rights.
"The government has no role when it comes to personal choice," Beaubien said. "This is the big thing that really distinguishes me from my opponent."
The pair don't see eye to eye on a number of other social issues, as well.
McSweeney, a Barrington Hills financial consultant, said he believes marriage should be limited to between a man and a woman and has received support from Family PAC, which opposes same-sex marriage.
Beaubien, a retired counselor also from Barrington Hills, said she supports equal rights for all couples regardless of sexual orientation. She has received financial support from Equality Illinois, which advocates for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
In January, she accepted the group's annual Freedom Award on behalf of her late husband, former state Rep. Mark Beaubien.
McSweeney and Beaubien do agree in their support for a concealed carry law in Illinois, but they differ on the death penalty.
McSweeney said he supports its reinstatement, while Beaubien said she'd allow it only with stronger safeguards in place ensuring innocent people aren't executed. Even then, she said, it should be a last resort option for individuals who are "guilty without any doubt for only the most atrocious crimes."
Above all other issues, McSweeney's position on abortion rights has been the focus of Beaubien's negative campaign mailers.
Beaubien said she believes that the issue of when life begins is a personal decision made on an individual level, and she has received money from Personal PAC, dedicated to preserving abortion rights.
McSweeney, she said, would put "women's lives in danger by opposing the right to choose, even for rape and incest victims and when the life or health of the woman is at risk." She cites past financial campaign support from a "radical" special interest group and a 2005 interview he gave on the "Public Affairs" talk show.
McSweeney, however, maintains he favors exceptions to save the life of the mother and in cases of reported rape and incest. Pro-Life Victory PAC has contributed to his campaign. He called Beaubien's claims "accusations that are absolutely 100 percent outrageous."
The 52nd House District includes portions of Algonquin, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Cary, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lake in the Hills, North Barrington, Oakwood Hills, South Barrington, Trout Valley and Wauconda.