All posts by charleswhitaker

Schneider tops Dold in hard-fought race to represent the 10th Congressional District

By Sarah Haas and Nona Tepper

It was the nail-biter everyone expected.

The hotly contested race to represent Illinois’ 10th Congressional District proved to be just as close as pollsters predicted, with Democrat Brad Schneider battling late into the night in an effort to claim the seat of U.S. Rep. Bob Dold.

In the end, Schneider prevailed, capturing 52 percent of the vote in the district that covers northern Cook and Lake Counties. Dold garnered 48 percent.

The race was not called until nearly 11 p.m. Shortly thereafter, Schneider took to the stage of the ballroom in the Northbrook Hilton Hotel to declare victory.

“It is an honor to be representing the 10th District,” said a smiling Schneider, who was surrounded onstage by his family and well-wishers. “We have to make sure we continue to fight for those things that make our country truly great.”

Dold, who conceded almost simultaneously, was gracious, if somber, in defeat.

“Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short today, and in the end, that’s okay,” he said. “We tried tirelessly. The 10th District deserved nothing less.”

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PUSH volunteers keep watchful eyes on polling places and voters on election day

By Nia Prater and Yu-Ning Aileen Chuang

As C. Betty Magness, Illinois political director for the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, worked the election hotline on the third floor of the organization’s headquarters Tuesday, a call came in on her cell phone that took her by surprise.

It was her son, who said he had been turned away from his polling place because officials there claimed he’d already voted.

Magness sprang into action. She spurred her son on with the same words of advice that she gives when appearing on talk radio shows to educate voters about their rights.

“If they tell you you have to vote by provisional ballot, do not accept it,” she told her son. “Insist that they double check their records and make sure that they are correct. Never leave the polling place, and if you have a problem with the ballot, never leave the booth. Call for a judge. Raise your hand. Yell, scream, whatever.”

Magness is part of the corps of people who assembled at PUSH on Tuesday in what they termed “Election Central,” a command center staffed with volunteers available to handle immediate problems voters encountered and answer any of their questions about voting. Rainbow/PUSH, a Chicago-based organization founded by Rev. Jesse Jackson, has been reaching out to the community throughout the election season. They also maintained a hotline that was open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.

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Chance the Rapper uses Twitter to rally fans for massive parade to the polls

By Nia Prater

“If you’re planning on voting tomorrow, say ‘hell yeah!'” exhorted local rapper DJ OddCouple, hyping up the crowd in front of the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park Monday.

A resounding “Hell yeah!” came back in response.

It was dusk, and thousands jammed into the park for a get-out-the-vote rally and free concert spearheaded by the 23-year-old critically acclaimed hip hop recording artist Chancellor Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper. But even before Bennett made his appearance, the party had already started, and the crowd assembled for the music and the pre-election demonstration was primed and ready to go.

Bennett dubbed the rally “Parade to the Polls.” It was billed as “a live show of democracy,” a tagline taken very seriously. It featured an early-evening concert headlined by Bennett, a Chicago native, followed by a literal procession to the polls, with Bennett himself leading the spectators on foot through rush hour traffic to a nearby polling station.

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Iran nuclear deal raises heat at first Dold/Schneider debate

By Sarah Haas

The Iran nuclear deal formed the narrative line of a contentious debate Sunday night between U.S. Rep. Bob Dold, R-Kenilworth and Democrat Brad Schneider, who is trying for the second time to unseat Dold in the 10th Congressional district.

The candidates squared off before a packed house in the auditorium of Lake Forest High School. It was the first of three scheduled debates between Dold and Schneider, and it proved to be as antagonistic as the stream of commercials both sides have been running for weeks.

Though they touched upon a range of topics in the 90-minute discussion, the two men clashed most explosively over the controversial Iran nuclear deal, which became a perennial talking point after both were originally asked about their perspectives on the extensive $38 billion aid package set to be delivered to U.S. ally, Israel.

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Will local millennials defy traditional voter ‘drop-off’ patterns?

By Sarah Haas and Nia Prater

The voting phenomenon widely known as the millennial “drop-off” may not hold to be entirely true for young people in the Chicago area on Nov. 8.

A combination of factors, including registration drives on college campuses and the contentiousness of some hotly contested national and local races, seem to have engaged and energized young people in the area, many of whom may be poised to turn out in record numbers on election day, according to Alex Morgan, national field and training director for Progressive Turnout Project, a grassroots political organization based in Northbrook that encourages local Democrats to vote.

“Of voters under the age of 24, 93 percent told us that they plan to vote in the upcoming election,” Morgan said.

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Free ‘Macs’ and campaign controversy lure Northwestern undergrads to presidential debate party

By Nia Prater

Students squeezed themselves onto couches placed around the room or sat knee-to-knee on the grey carpet in the main lounge of the Northwestern University’s Communications Residential College Sunday night. Seating was at a premium. Even a bench from the grand piano in the corner and a lone table by the window became prime locations.

The students were spending their Sunday evening, not doing homework or relaxing, but poised in front of their lounge’s 60 inch flat screen television, watching Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off in the second of their presidential debates.

This was the dorm’s third watch party of the semester, having previously hosted residents for the very first Clinton-Trump debate and the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence just last week.

There were cheers, groans and, at times, even loud bursts of laughter as the students reacted to the quips thrown by Trump and Clinton.

Faculty chair Roger Boye started the evening off, by reiterating his earlier promise that the first students to arrive in the lounge would receive a free “Mac”. A quick dash into a side room and Boye returned with the students’ prize: boxes of McIntosh apples. They were met with applause and quickly passed all around the room.

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