Schneider facing challenge from the left for 10th House seat

  • Adam Broad, left, and Brad Schneider are the Democrats running for the 10th Congressional District seat in 2020.

    Adam Broad, left, and Brad Schneider are the Democrats running for the 10th Congressional District seat in 2020.

  • Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee is the Republican candidate for the 10th House District seat.

    Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee is the Republican candidate for the 10th House District seat.

 
 
Updated 12/8/2019 4:16 PM

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider's challenger in the upcoming Democratic primary for the 10th District seat is a self-described Democratic Socialist critical of Schneider's stance on health care and other issues.

Schneider, a three-term congressman from Deerfield, will have to defeat Adam Broad of Buffalo Grove in March to be the party's nominee in November 2020. Never before has Schneider been challenged in a primary while the incumbent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Coming at Schneider from the left is going to be an uphill battle for Broad, said Kent Redfield, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Tenth District voters historically have sent moderates to Congress, including a Republican as recently as 2014, Redfield said.

"The fact that he presents himself as a Democratic Socialist and wants to run to the left of Schneider does not strike me as a good strategy for this district," Redfield said.

Additionally, Schneider has established connections in the district as well as an abundance of campaign cash at his disposal -- nearly $2 million as of this fall -- while Broad hadn't raised enough money as of September to require a federal financial disclosure report, records show.

"Without organization or money, challengers never become visible," Redfield said. "And because they are invisible, they do not attract the support to become viable."

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The 10th District serves parts of Lake and Cook counties.

The winner of the March 17 Democratic primary will face Republican Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee of Winnetka in November.

Schneider first won the post in 2012 but lost in 2014. He took the seat back in 2016 and secured reelection in 2018.

Broad has been a Vernon Township trustee since 2017, and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for Lake County clerk in 2018.

Challenging and defeating a sitting representative in a primary isn't an unheard of entryway into national politics. That's how U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her New York district in 2018.

Ocasio-Cortez proudly wears the Democratic Socialist label. Broad said he joined the movement in 1985, in his early 20s.

"(I) identify with it as a movement for democratic alternatives to the power of the big banks and transnational corporations," Broad said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

One of the most notable differences between Broad and Schneider is their stances on health care.

Broad backs the creation of a national, government-run health insurance system and the abolishment of private health insurance.

"The current system is bankrupting and killing Americans," Broad said. "Single-payer is a solution to that."

Schneider opposes the Medicare-for-all proposals promoted by some Democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, whom Broad supports.

Schneider has backed legislation that would create government insurance options but said he doesn't want to force Americans to use a government plan.

"To say we're going to take (private insurance) away and rip it off like a Band-Aid, I think may be a bridge too far," Schneider recently told the Daily Herald.

Broad has other views and has made statements that put him to Schneider's political left. For example, on his campaign website, Broad calls for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and likens the agency to the Gestapo -- the secret police of Nazi Germany.

Broad also supports the Green New Deal environmental legislation most recently promoted by Ocasio-Cortez. Schneider has backed the Paris climate agreement and pro-environment legislation but doesn't support the Green New Deal.

Schneider isn't the only member of the suburban congressional delegation facing a primary challenge in March. So are Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, Jan Schakowsky of Evanston and Bill Foster of Naperville. All are Democrats.

Redfield expects all four incumbents will survive their primary showdowns.

"(They) do not present realistic opportunities for groups and leaders who want to move the national or Illinois Democratic parties to the left," Redfield said.

When asked about Broad's challenge, Schneider didn't sound worried. He touted the connections he's made with constituents through town hall gatherings, job fairs, school visits and other community events.

"Voters know me, know my work and know what I stand for," Schneider said. "I am confident I will continue to earn their trust in 2020."

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