Democrat Brad Schneider ousts Rep. Dold in 10th Congressional District
Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from the 10th district Brad Schneider works a phone bank in Grayslake, Illinois as he and volunteers campaign Sunday November 4, 2012. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: November 7, 2012 7:52AM
In an upset, Democrat Brad Schneider narrowly slipped past U.S. Rep Bob Dold Tuesday, ousting the freshman congressman and giving the 10th District its first Democrat in decades.
Dold conceded just before 11 p.m. He lost by barely 2,400 votes out of more than 200,000 cast.
Dold, a moderate, was remapped into a Democratic-leaning, north suburban district. At one point Tuesday, he appeared to be heading toward re-election.
But as votes from the Lake County portion of the district came in, Schneider narrowly surged past him.
The remaining precincts, however, were in Cook County, closer to Dold’s home turf in Kenilworth.
“This is a close race no matter how you look at it — and we always knew it was going to be a close race,” said Dold spokesman John McGovern.
Their battle for the 10th Congressional District seat had been one of the most hotly contested — and costly — congressional races in the country.
Dold has stressed his moderate credentials and independence in striving to hold onto a district that has been represented by a Republican for 30 years.
But after a congressional remap controlled by Democrats, Dold’s new district contains about 60 percent of its former area and has lost some traditionally GOP bastions along the North Shore.
But Dold raised nearly $3 million to help hold onto the district, even airing TV commercials noting he agreed with President Barack Obama on the need to avoid raising taxes on middle-class families. An analysis by Congressional Quarterly showed that in 2011, Dold voted in support of Obama more than any other Republican in the House.
Schneider, who raised more than $1.6 million and used former President Bill Clinton to make automated phone calls on his behalf, pounded Dold as a Tea Party sympathizer who voted against key Obama administration programs.
Those include voting to repeal the president’s national healthcare plan, said Schneider, who has loudly backed the health-care changes.
Dold ridiculed claims that he is a Tea Party favorite, pointing to endorsements from organizations that include the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association to show he’s not a member of that hard-core GOP faction.
And Dold has used the term Affordable Care Act rather than “Obamacare,” in referring to the health-care plan.
He has said he would like to see more compromise in the health plan, including not banning people from getting coverage if they have pre-existing conditions. He also has said he thinks it “makes sense” to keep children on their parents’ health insurance plans until they’re 26 — another component of the president’s plan.
Dold has blasted Schneider, a Deerfield resident, for refusing to release his tax returns and for his lack of success as a businessman, citing documents that show his consulting business reported no revenues for several years.
Dold and his family have long run a suburban-based pest control business.
The 10th District they’re battling to represent sprawls across parts of northern Cook County and Lake County, reaching from Lake Michigan on the east to Fox Lake on the west.
Schneider has been endorsed by groups including the Sierra Club, the Human Rights Campaign and NARAL Pro-Choice America, along with the Illinois Federation of Teachers.