Suburban 6th, 14th district races have national implications

Hot congressional races here could be key nationally

 
 
Updated 11/4/2018 4:09 PM
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  • The race between Democrat Sean Casten and Republican incumbent Peter Roskam in the 6th U.S. Congressional District could be part of a blue wave bringing more liberal members to the House of Representatives, or it could usher in Roskam's seventh term.

    The race between Democrat Sean Casten and Republican incumbent Peter Roskam in the 6th U.S. Congressional District could be part of a blue wave bringing more liberal members to the House of Representatives, or it could usher in Roskam's seventh term.

  • Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren and Democratic challenger Lauren Underwood are locked in a tight race for the 14th U.S. Congressional District, as Democrats try to flip the seat blue and Hultgren tries to earn a fifth term.

    Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren and Democratic challenger Lauren Underwood are locked in a tight race for the 14th U.S. Congressional District, as Democrats try to flip the seat blue and Hultgren tries to earn a fifth term.

Voters on Tuesday will decide who will represent the suburbs for the next two years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Two of the most closely watched and bitterly fought races are in the 6th and 14th districts, where longtime incumbent Republicans Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren face challenges from upstart Democrats Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood.

If the Democrats win either or both the seats, it could help their party regain a majority in the U.S. House two years after the election of President Donald Trump.

Although both district traditionally lean Republican, Democrats nationally believe the seats may be winnable and have focused their efforts here.

6th District

Amid rhetoric from each campaign accusing the other of hyperbole and extremism, Roskam, 57, of Wheaton, and Casten, 46, of Downers Grove, have tried to capture support in a traditionally conservative area.

Roskam highlighted his role helping write 2017's tax reform law, which he says brings tax breaks to many district families and has spurred economic reinvestment by businesses. Casten, meanwhile, has zoomed in on the environment, women's issues, gun control and health care, saying Roskam hasn't done enough in any of those areas.

Before he could challenge Roskam, Casten had to defeat six others who sought the Democratic nomination in the spring -- including five women. Despite initial Democratic hopes a woman could unseat Roskam after 12 years, the party has since rallied around Casten.

14th District

Pitting an eight-year incumbent in Hultgren, 52, of Plano, against a first-time candidate in Underwood, 32, of Naperville, the 14th District race has focused on health care.

Underwood is challenging Hultgren from her position as a nurse and health policy adviser in former President Barack Obama's administration, and she's telling constituents that Hultgren hasn't done enough to protect guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

Hultgren has tried to paint Underwood as too liberal for the district, saying she has an "out of touch, progressive vision." His campaign has focused more on the tax reform law as a positive for the broader economy.

Other races

Elsewhere, five Democratic incumbents are defending their seats against Republican challengers in the 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th districts.

In the 5th, the decision is between Democrat Mike Quigley, a nine-year incumbent from Chicago, and Chicago Republican Tom Hanson. Quigley is a member of the House Intelligence Committee who calls himself a "centrist Democrat," and Hanson is a commercial real estate broker who is making his second bid for the office after falling short in the 2009 primary.

In the 8th District, Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi is challenged by Republican Jitendra "JD" Diganvker.

Krishnamoorthi, 45, is a Schaumburg attorney and businessman who is finishing his first term. Diganvker is a 50-year-old Schaumburg businessman seeking his first elected office.

The 9th District pits Democrat Jan Schakowsky against Republican John Elleson.

Schakowsky is an Evanston resident and 20-year veteran of the House. Elleson is an Arlington Heights pastor.

In the 10th District, incumbent Democrat Brad Schneider faces Republican challenger Doug Bennett.

This won't be a rematch of the past three 10th District races, which pitted Schneider against former U.S. Rep. Bob Dold. Instead, Schneider, a 57-year-old Deerfield resident, faces Doug Bennett, a 55-year-old Deerfield computer consultant making his second run for elected office.

The 11th District seat belongs to incumbent Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville, who is challenged by Republican Nick Stella of Darien.

Foster, a former physicist, is seeking his fourth term, while Stella is a cardiologist who won the GOP primary this spring in his second attempt.

Congress: Tax reform law, health care are key topics

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