Republican U.S. Rep. Robert Dold and Democratic challenger Brad Schneider took their campaigns to the airwaves Tuesday in an accusation-filled appearance on WTTW's "Chicago Tonight."
Seated elbow to elbow, the 10th District candidates argued about Schneider's reluctance to release his tax returns, whether Dold is as moderate as he claims and many other issues.
Host Phil Ponce repeatedly had to interrupt the bickering and move on to other topics.
The live debate was the fourth and final meeting for the two candidates before the Nov. 6 election.
Dold, of Kenilworth, began the roughly 30-minute discussion by proclaiming his independence as a lawmaker.
Dold has campaigned as a moderate willing to cross party lines for legislation on the budget, abortion rights and the environment. Schneider has tried to paint him as a loyal Republican who aligns with the conservative Tea Party, allegations Dold and newspaper editorial boards have criticized.
Schneider, of Deerfield, didn't mention the Tea Party on "Chicago Tonight," although he did repeatedly accuse Dold of siding with Republicans on 20-plus key votes. The votes he targeted most often were the two Dold cast in favor of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's controversial budget proposal.
When Ponce asked if he's been tacking to the political center, Dold responded, "That's where I've been."
Schneider also has been pushing a moderate message, even though he won the Democratic primary by proudly campaigning as a liberal candidate. Ponce pointed out that Schneider called himself a "pragmatic progressive" on a "Chicago Tonight" interview earlier this year.
Schneider responded by saying he's progressive on social values such as marriage equality, the ability for gays to serve in the military and abortion rights.
"I'm 100 percent in support of women's rights, the right of a woman to make her own choice," Schneider said.
That led to an argument about abortion.
As he has throughout the campaign, Dold said he favors abortion rights and noted he was the only House Republican to speak in favor of funding Planned Parenthood. However, during his 2010 campaign, Dold opposed government funding for abortion, opposes late-term abortions and supports parental notification for minors seeking abortions.
Those objections weren't specifically mentioned Tuesday.
Dold got some shots in, too. He once again questioned why Schneider hasn't released his tax returns, something Dold has done.
Schneider said his wife has a right to financial privacy. He also said anything voters need to know about his finances is on House disclosure forms, although those documents don't accurately indicate income or taxes paid.
"Voters do have a right to transparency here," Dold said.
Dold and Schneider agreed on a few points, including the need for the U.S. to maintain a strong relationship with Israel and support for comprehensive immigration reform.
The 10th District includes parts of Lake and Cook counties. It stretches from Lake Michigan into the North and Northwest suburbs.