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posted: 2/9/2018 5:30 AM

10th District rivals exchange barbs over political pasts

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  • From left, Doug Bennett, Sapan Shah and Jeremy Wynes are the Republican candidates in the 10th Congressional District race.

    From left, Doug Bennett, Sapan Shah and Jeremy Wynes are the Republican candidates in the 10th Congressional District race.

  • U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider

    U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider

 
 

Two of the Republican candidates for the 10th Congressional District seat are sparring over their pasts.

Jeremy Wynes has criticized Sapan Shah for being registered to vote in Chicago for five years after he moved from the city to Libertyville in 2012. Shah has admitted he was not registered to vote at the Libertyville address for several years, although the Lake County clerk's office confirmed he is registered there now.

And Shah has criticized Wynes, of Highland Park, for releasing a mailer that describes Wynes as a political outsider, even though he's worked extensively for political lobbyists and claims the support of Republican groups.

Wynes, Shah and Deerfield resident Doug Bennett are seeking the GOP nomination in the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. They'll face off in the March 20 primary.

The winner will battle incumbent Democrat Brad Schneider of Deerfield in the November general election.

Wynes noted Shah's residency and voting record during a group interview with the Daily Herald. He asked Shah why he was registered in Chicago despite living in Libertyville.

In response, Shah said he moved to Libertyville from Chicago with his wife in 2012. He confirmed he was registered in Chicago until 2017 and did vote in the city despite his Libertyville residency.

"I look forward to voting (in Libertyville) going forward," Shah said.

When pressed by the Daily Herald, Shah said he should have registered to vote in Libertyville in 2012.

Wynes called Shah's actions deceptive.

"This is a long way from downtown Chicago, and I think people want to know that they're voting for somebody, that they're sending somebody to Washington to represent them, who lives a life like they do," Wynes said. "And I just don't see how you can say that."

Shah took issue with a Team Wynes campaign flyer that labels Wynes a "political outsider" who will "take on the insiders."

Although Wynes has never held public office, he has years of political experience.

Wynes worked as a director in the Chicago office of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies, from 2008 to 2014. From 2014 to 2017, he served as the Midwest regional director for the Republican Jewish Coalition, another lobbying group.

Additionally, Wynes claims endorsements from Wheeling Township and Northfield Township GOP groups, and from John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Shah accused Wynes of "political double-talk."

"It's important for candidates to accurately represent their credentials and to say the same thing to voters in one room that they say to them in another," Shah said. "If you've spent that last decade of your career in politics ... but now you're trying to convince voters you're an outsider, you are playing politics and intentionally misleading the voters."

Shah, the senior vice president of a medical malpractice insurance company, has railed against long-serving lawmakers and pledged not to serve more than three terms if elected.

Wynes campaign spokesman Michael Schrimpf responded to Shah's complaint by saying Wynes "was fighting alongside grass-roots activists in the district" against the controversial 2015 nuclear deal with Iran "at the same time Sapan Shah was voting in Chicago."

Without naming Wynes or Shah, Bennett campaign spokesman Matt Vriesema said voters deserve the truth from candidates.

"When you lie about who you are as a candidate, it hurts your credibility," Vriesema said.

"If you are willing to lie now, how can 10th District voters trust you in Congress?"

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