Schneider wins third term in Illinois’ 10th District

By Alexis Shanes
Medill Reports

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider clinched reelection in the north suburban 10th District Tuesday, bringing a tame campaign to an unsurprising close amid a contentious national midterm season.

The Associated Press called the race for Schneider just before 8:30 p.m. The Deerfield Democrat defeated Republican candidate Douglas Bennett handily, using his incumbency to earn 63 percent of the vote in the district, which includes parts of suburban middle- and upper-class Cook and Lake counties.

After the Illinois polls closed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Schneider partied at Highland Park Country Club with hundreds of supporters who were lively and optimistic long before the results arrived. Optimism remained high as they celebrated national returns with the increasing promise that Democrats would regain a majority in the U.S. House or Representatives.

“This was a campaign powered by people,” Schneider said in his victory speech. “We saw it with the result tonight.”

Schneider spoke of unity in the face of a bitterly partisan campaign season, indirectly referencing President Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

“Two years ago, it was a dark night across the country,” Schneider said. “Illinois’ 10th District was sending a message to the rest of the country. The message we sent two years ago, we amplified tonight.

“We will create our future by lifting people up rather than speaking to people down,” he added.

Schneider’s win is his third in the past four elections. He first won office in 2012 and lost the seat to Republican Robert Dold in 2014 before reclaiming it in 2016. Unlike his overwhelming victory this year, his battles with Dold resulted in wins — and a loss — by a narrow margin.

This year, the climate was different. Roll Call previously rated the 10th District as “solid Democratic.”

Schneider, who ran unopposed in the primary, is among the most moderate Illinois Democrats. He won support from 15 mayors and village presidents in the district, along with endorsements from the Chicago Sun-Times and the suburban Daily Herald.

Schneider’s campaign since the beginning of 2017 collected contributions totaling nearly $4.3 million. He has significant financial backing from political action committees representing health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical organizations, reflecting his involvement in negotiations that would build on the Affordable Care Act.

Schneider serves on the House Committee on the Judiciary, the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. During campaign stops, debates and town hall meetings, he has touted his membership in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, a working group that has proposed cross-aisle solutions to issues such as health care and gun safety.

Highland Park resident Nancy Shafer, who serves as secretary for 10th Congressional District Democrats, said she is relieved by the results.

The 63-year-old attorney said her concerns center mainly around women’s rights and health care. Shafer also said she worries about the environment, although she doesn’t expect it will affect her in Illinois.

“For me, it means that we’re restoring sanity,” Shafer said. “We’re getting back to a balance.”

Illinois State Sen. Julie Morrison (D-29), State Rep. Jonathan Carroll (D-57) and 58th district state representative candidate Bob Morgan – who won against Republican Rick Lesser  –  celebrated with Schneider.  Morgan replaces Democrat Scott Drury in District 58. Carroll ran unopposed.

“There’s not another room I would rather be in tonight than this one,” Morrison said, adding that the campaign was less civil than those in recent memory. “I am going to take this win to Springfield and work harder than I ever have before.”

Like Schneider, Morgan evoked themes of gun safety, immigration and climate change in his victory speech.

“There is no question that this is a trying time for our community,” he said. “But I’m filled with hope. I’m filled with optimism because this community, this country, is loving and tolerant. We love this great state of Illinois because of its endless diversity.”

Photo at top: U.S. Rep Brad Schneider celebrates his reelection in the Illinois’ 10th District Tuesday night. (Alexis Shanes/MEDILL)