Schneider Beats Back Sheyman in Illinois 10th District Primary
Updated at 10:17 p.m.
Despite furious pressure from progressive groups, businessman Brad Schneider has defeated former MoveOn.org organizer Ilya Sheyman for the Democratic nomination in Illinois's 10th Congressional District. Schneider will take on Republican Rep. Robert Dold in the general election.
Sheyman's campaign said he called Schneider to concede just after 10 p.m. Eastern time. With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Schneider led Sheyman 47 percent to 39 percent, according to the AP. Air Force Reserves Col. John Tree finished with eight percent and attorney Vivek Bavda got six percent of the vote.
Sheyman and his allies sought to paint Schneider as a "Blue Dog," moderate Democrat who would bargain away progressive ideals in Congress. Small policy differences over the role of government in the economy and over Social Security and Medicare did separate the two candidates, but Sheyman's main line of attack against his principle opponent was Schneider's record of donatiing to Republican candidates like Sen. Mark Kirk, who represented the district until 2010, based on their support for Israel.
Schneider held on by emphasizing his progressive credentials while arguing that a strident partisan like Sheyman would jeopardize Democrats' hopes of capturing the district from Dold, despite the seat's Democratic lean. "It's much more Democratic-friendly, but most likely this race is going to be won and lost in the middle," Schneider said in an interview earlier this month. President Obama won 63 percent of the district's White House vote in 2008, making the 10th District the most Democratic-leaning Republican-held seat in the House of Representatives.
In an emailed statement, Schneider congratulated his Democratic opponents and pivoted to Dold. "After two short years, Congressman Bob Dold has forgotten who he is supposed to fight for," Schneider's statement reads. "He would rather spend his time defunding Planned Parenthood, shutting down the federal government, and fighting to end Medicare as we know it. I am running to make sure we give Bob Dold and his tea party friends a one-way ticket home."
Though Dold has cultivated a moderate image in Congress, Schneider says Dold is as representative of the tea party as any other Republican House member. (On the flip side, Schneider said he expects Dold to attack him for being too progressive, despite being the ostensible moderate in the Democratic primary.) "I think if you look at Dold's voting record, it's not on the edge [of his caucus]," Schneider said. "I think when we get to the general ... we'll look at the votes Bob Dold has taken."