Fresh off win, Schneider says he's grateful to have 10th District voters' respect
Fresh off a substantial reelection victory, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider on Thursday expressed gratitude to the voters of Illinois' 10th District for choosing him as their envoy to Congress for another two years.
The Deerfield Democrat also is optimistic former Vice President Joe Biden will pull off a win in the tight race for the Oval Office.
"I have very high hopes," Schneider said in a telephone interview.
Schneider defeated Northbrook Republican Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee to win a third consecutive term. Unofficial results indicate Schneider had more than 60% of the vote.
Even though late-arriving ballots and others still need to be counted, Schneider's lead was commanding enough for The Associated Press to call the race.
Stretching from Lake Michigan into the North and Northwest suburbs, the 10th District includes portions of Lake and Cook counties. Schneider dominated his rival in both counties, results show.
He beat Republican challenger Doug Bennett by a wide margin two years ago, too.
Schneider said he had a friendly phone call with Ramirez Mukherjee and invited her to stay in touch. In a message posted Thursday on Facebook, Ramirez Mukherjee called her campaign "an amazing journey."
"I'm a constant optimist who often says to those I meet, 'The best is yet to come -- dream big!!!'" she wrote. "I'll remind myself -- the best is yet to come."
Schneider does not see his wins this week or in 2018 as reflections on the Republican nominees.
"It's a reflection of how I've connected with the district, (with) Republicans and Democrats," he said. "It's nice to be liked, but what's more important, I hope, is that I've earned their respect."
During his time as the 10th District's congressman -- which includes a fourth term separate from the last three -- Schneider believes he's gotten to know the district, its people and their concerns very well.
"There are 106 corners in the district, and I think I've been to all of them," Schneider said. "I have come to know every community. I've really worked hard to understand the interests and needs of each community. And I think they know me, and I'm grateful they think I'm doing a good job on their behalf."
Democrats won clear victories in every suburban congressional district Tuesday except one. In the 14th, Republican challenger Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove was leading incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville by such a small margin as of Thursday that they're statistically tied -- and many more mail-in votes are expected to be counted.
Schneider said he spoke with Underwood on Wednesday and urged her to stay focused.
"Every vote has to be counted," he said.
That's also true in the presidential race, where Biden and President Donald Trump are waiting for results in a few final states to see who will be victorious.
If Biden wins, Schneider expects the Delaware Democrat to successfully work with members of both parties to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, improve the economy and battle climate change.
Schneider, a strong critic of Trump's over the last four years, acknowledged the president has a path to victory, too. If that happens, Schneider doesn't expect Trump will alter his bare-knuckle approach to governing.
"I'm past the point of hoping that President Trump is going to change," Schneider said.