Democrats John Hosta and Dennis Anderson have major differences in at least two hot-button social issues: gun control and abortion.
Hosta's more conservative views on those topics than his Democratic opponent, Dennis Anderson, make him the party's best chance at unseating 14th Congressional District Republican Randy Hultgren, he says.
In an interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board, Hosta described himself as both pro-gun and opposing abortion.
The Spring Grove resident said many of his friends and neighbors are farmers and sportsmen who are very comfortable with guns.
"I don't want to see a lot of legislation against handguns and guns," Hosta said. "I do believe in the Second Amendment. That right should not be infringed upon, but I do believe those guns should be made in this country. You have to have legislation to encourage that. I know that a lot of people are very nervous about assault weapons. I want to make sure that the people who have these types of weapons are sportsmen. I do think those people should be given that right."
Hosta does, however, support criminal background checks for the purchase of guns. So does Anderson.
But Anderson, of Gurnee, doesn't agree that assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and body armor are rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
"I'm not sure why people need body armor unless they are planning something untoward," Anderson said. "And I'm not sure why an individual citizen would require a .50-caliber rifle. They may be fun to shoot, but I think that can be accommodated in ways other than private ownership."
Abortion is another social issue where the candidates disagree.
"I'm pro-life," Hosta said. "I believe in that, and I'm not going to deviate from that."
Hosta also said he would vote against any proposal that includes public funding for abortions.
"I would like to see legislation that would encourage a pro-life stance so that the alternative of providing life for the child would be just as available as the abortion," Hosta said.
The so-called Hyde Amendment in 1976 blocked federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. However, partisan fights about federal funds for organizations such as Planned Parenthood have kept the abortion funding debate alive. Most recently, Republicans passed a bill through the House to ban federal subsidies for health care plans that cover abortion through President Barack Obama's new health care laws.
Anderson maintains there is no federal funding for abortions.
"That issue is decided," he said.
However, Anderson said he might support federal funding for some abortions where there's a threat of death to the life of the mother.
"Abortion should be legal but rare," Anderson said. "I've never met anyone who favors abortion. What we should do is, to the greatest extent possible, prevent unwanted pregnancies. That's the key to the reduction of abortions."