Dold a'going to the freshman dance, again
Newly elected Bob Dold arrived in Washington, D.C. Wednesday for freshman orientation, the weeklong look at all you need to know to be a member of Congress.
Not many people go through freshman orientation a second time.
But Dold, of Kenilworth, said Thursday he's not sitting in the back of the classroom, telling everyone he's already done this before.
Dold won last week's election against Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider of Deerfield in a rematch from 2012 that was among the most closely watched races in the country. Dold first won office in 2010 then was defeated by Schneider two years ago.
The week of orientation gives new lawmakers a chance to meet fellow freshmen, bond and make friends with members of both parties before things really get moving after everyone is sworn in.
"You don't have a lot of the pressure of actually running the office," Dold said.
Dold says he saw Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville Wednesday. Foster has been in a similar situation, serving a term in Congress, losing, then going back two years later.
"It's an opportunity to get to meet this incoming class," Dold said.
"It's a big opportunity to be bipartisan," he said.
But wait ...
There's little doubt that Dold's win ensures that the North suburban 10th Congressional District will once again be a competitive contest in 2016. The borders of the district were drawn by Democrats to favor Democrats. So a Republican incumbent means Democrats will be working to get it back in two years.
Washington, D.C.-based Roll Call reported Thursday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to talk Schneider into a rematch.
His spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment.
If that happened, voters in 2016 would see Dold vs. Schneider Part III.
And that's after voters in the district saw Democrat Dan Seals run in 2006, 2008 and 2010, twice against Republican Mark Kirk and once against Dold.
What's the crime?
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is still investigating a troubling mailer that emerged in the final days of a suburban race for Illinois House.
State Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, says the office is researching what crime exactly could be attached to the mailer before possibly convening a grand jury.
The flier in question depicts Republican Ramiro Juarez pushing a lawn mower and calls him the "son of an illegal immigrant."
Juarez has said the flier isn't his, and Crespo says he's pushing for a criminal investigation to clear his name. On the mailer, the return address says "People for Fred Crespo."
Crespo's campaign committee is Citizens for Fred Crespo.
"People who don't know me are going to form an opinion based on that mail piece," Crespo said.
He says he's also meeting with the Illinois State Board of Elections next week.
State lawmakers are set to meet next week at the Capitol, including a Tuesday afternoon hearing on the controversial proposal to change how money is divided among schools.
The hearing doesn't include a scheduled vote. Democratic state Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat and the lawmaker who controls the legislation, says she's not pushing for one this year.
Still, suburban school officials will be watching. Many have complained that the proposal that would send more state money to poorer Illinois school districts would blow big holes in their budgets.
Crespo echoes Chapa LaVia, saying the debate is an important one, but changes to the proposal are coming eventually.
"That's not going anywhere the way it is," he said.