Riopell: Dold says 2016 will be different, better year for him than 2012
U.S. Rep. Bob Dold is up for re-election in a presidential year -- just like in 2012 when the Kenilworth Republican lost after his freshman term in Congress. But he argues 2016 will be different.
For one, Illinoisan Barack Obama won't be at the top of the ticket next year to draw local Democratic voters, and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is set to be in a spirited re-election race that might draw Republicans to the polls, Dold said.
Kirk formerly held Dold's congressional seat and is "obviously extremely popular in the 10th District," Dold said.
Plus, he says, the state GOP is stronger now after Gov. Bruce Rauner's victory last year.
"The Illinois Republican Party in 2012 was basically nonexistent," Dold told the Daily Herald editorial board during a visit Thursday.
Dold could be on the way for a rematch against Democrat Brad Schneider, who beat him in 2012 but lost to him last year. Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering is also in the race for the Democrats.
As usual, the race has been eyed nationally as one of the most hotly contested in the country because it has seesawed between the parties in the last few elections. Democrats might see the Northern suburban district as their best pickup chance in Illinois.
In the editorial board meeting, Dold praised a different Schneider, state GOP Chairman Tim Schneider.
"We have a much more robust party, to be honest," he said.
On the move
The second-term lawmaker said one of the region's priorities has to be getting federal investment in roads and mass transit to help people get around and convince employers the Chicago area is a good place to be.
Asked if an increase in the gasoline tax is a way to pay for it, Dold said: "I do believe that all options have to be on the table as to how do we come up with the $13 billion shortfall."
That shortfall is in the Federal Highway Trust Fund. Dold argued lawmakers should consider lots of options before deciding what to do.
"I don't know what's going to be best," he said. "I do know that we need a robust surface transportation bill."
The new guy
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin's new chief of staff will be Wheaton resident Andrew Freiheit, now serving as the Western Springs lawmaker's top attorney and ethics officer.
Freiheit will replace Scott Reimers, who is leaving government work.
"Andrew is well-known and highly respected by the members of our caucus and the staff and others in the Capitol complex," Durkin said in a statement. "He will be a great chief of staff, and I am proud to promote him to this new position."
Candidates as of this week can start passing petitions in the suburbs, asking voters for signatures in an effort to get on next year's ballot. Yes, the campaign has begun.
So we'll keep track here of who gets in and out of some races across the suburbs.
Republican Lisle Township Trustee Michael Tams of Naperville appears ready to get in the 11th Congressional District race against DuPage County Board member Tonia Khouri of Aurora.
Tams' camp says he hasn't made an official announcement yet, but the would-be candidate has posted to Twitter: "First off, what: I'm running for Congress."
Also this: "I'm sure it's going to drive my campaign guys nuts, but I'm still doing jokes on this thing. Some things a man can't compromise on."
Republican Blake Hudson of Zion says he'll run for Illinois Senate in the northern Lake County district now held by Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake.
And Democrat Steve Anderson of Hanover Park filed preliminary paperwork with the state Board of Elections to run for Illinois House in the district now held by Democratic Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates.
Anderson, 26, said he respects Crespo but wants to get more involved in politics. He did social media work for Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin a few years ago and works as a restaurant manager.
"I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines," Anderson said.
Crespo said he's started to circulate petitions for re-election and is focused on his work as a lawmaker. He also announced Thursday a petition drive to repeal the recent Cook County sales tax hike.
Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks said Thursday it's possible the Cubs could win the World Series in October before Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner have a state budget in place.
"That is sobering," he said.