10th Congressional hopefuls Rotering, Schneider spar over Iran

The Democrats running to represent Illinois' 10th Congressional District faced off on the Iran nuclear deal and other issues Tuesday night during a debate in Deerfield.

Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and former U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield tried to differentiate themselves in front of potential voters at Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim.

The controversial pact with Iran - one designed to limit that nation's ability to develop nuclear weapons - was perhaps the clearest dividing point between the pair.

Schneider acknowledged he opposed the White House-backed proposal, saying he has concerns about "gaps" making enforcement difficult.

Even so, Schneider told the roughly 150 people in the audience he is "committed to making sure this deal works."

Although she says Iran can't be trusted, Rotering supported the deal and blasted Schneider for siding with Republicans on the proposal.

"At the end of the day, if you had been in Congress, you would have voted against this deal," Rotering said.

The candidates also differed on the presidential race.

Schneider voiced strong support for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. He said one of the reasons he's running for Congress again is so he can be "in the front row" for the first female American president.

"I love the message and experience of Hillary Clinton," Schneider said.

When asked about whom she supports, Rotering balked.

"I'm not picking one at the moment," she said.

During the debate, Rotering and Schneider also wound up on the same side of several issues.

For example, both said they support allowing women to register for the military draft and backing separate Israeli and Palestinian states in the Middle East. Both also criticized incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Dold of Kenilworth for portraying himself as a moderate while voting overwhelmingly with the other Republicans in the House.

The winner of the March 15 Democratic Party primary will face Dold. Schneider unseated Dold in 2012, but Dold took the seat back in 2014.

The 10th District includes parts of Cook and Lake counties. It stretches from Lake Michigan into the North and Northwest suburbs.

Both candidates will debate again Wednesday night at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

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