Schneider ready for rematch with Dold for 10th House seat
Democratic congressional candidate Brad Schneider is ready for his rematch against Republican Robert Dold for Illinois' 10th House seat.
Not even eight hours after his victory over Nancy Rotering in the Democratic primary was secured, Schneider, of Deerfield, greeted commuters at a train station in his hometown early Wednesday morning and talked about the political showdown ahead -- the third Dold-Schneider faceoff in six years.
As was the case in those previous elections, it is expected to be one of the most hotly contested -- and most expensive -- congressional races in the country.
Schneider won the first round in 2012 to replace Dold in Congress. But Dold, of Kenilworth, came back in 2014 and reclaimed the post.
This time, Schneider knows he needs to do a better job of getting Democratic voters to polling places if he expects to win in the 10th District, a bastion of independent, ticket-splitting voters that covers parts of Lake and Cook counties.
With more Americans than usual caring about the political process because of presidential campaigns that have turned increasingly ugly this year, Schneider believes that will happen.
"I think people are energized by what they're seeing," he said. "They realize that elections matter."
In a statement issued Wednesday, Dold said he's eager for a "serious and spirited debate on the issues" with Schneider. He cited the economy, Medicare, Social Security and the Iran nuclear deal as topics he wants to address.
The economy and the Iran deal have figured strongly in Schneider's campaign so far. The Democratic challenger also put education and student loan debt on his to-do debate list.
"Those are the priorities of the district," He said.
Schneider defeated Rotering 50,103 to 43,062 to win the Democratic nomination, taking nearly 54 percent of the vote, unofficial results showed.
Rotering refused to concede Tuesday night, saying early votes still remained uncounted. But that changed Wednesday morning, and she called Schneider to congratulate him on the win.
Now that the primary is over, it's time for Schneider to focus on Dold.
When Schneider beat the Republican lawmaker in 2012, he was boosted by President Obama's appearance atop the Democratic ticket.
Even so, it was a narrow victory. Schneider had less than 51 percent of the vote.
Dold won back the seat in 2014 with more than 51 percent of the vote. That was a midterm election, and the Democratic standard-bearer that time was Gov. Pat Quinn, who lost.
This November, voters will again choose a president. And the front-runners are Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, both of whom won Illinois' primaries Tuesday along with races in other states.
Trump has been winning despite turning off many Republican voters, and some of his comments during the campaign have outraged Democrats.
When asked if he thinks a Trump GOP nomination will help Democrats running for other offices in November, Schneider said "that's the conventional wisdom."
Schneider, an outspoken Clinton supporter, criticized Trump for being divisive and reaching out to people's "lesser instincts."
"He sucks out all the air from the Republican side," Schneider said.
Even so, Schneider said he'll run his own race and not ride on the coattails of the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.
"I'm running on my own values," he said. "Whoever the nominee is, I'm going to run my race. And I think I can beat Bob Dold in November."
Although the road to the White House has been a nasty one so far, Schneider expects he and Dold will rise above that rancor.
"I hope in the 10th District we can have a campaign about ideas, about policy matters, about what we can do to lift people up, and do it in a way that both Bob and I and our supporters celebrate our differences and respect each other in the process," Schneider said.
Dold has always painted himself as a moderate Republican, a lawmaker who can work with Democrats and isn't bound to conservative ideology.
In contrast, Dold has attacked Schneider as a partisan Democrat, most recently Wednesday in an email to supporters and the media.
In response, Schneider noted that Rotering accused him of voting too often with Republicans during his time in the House,
"Both can't be true," Schneider said.