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Brad Schneider delivers his victory speech with his wife and sons after winning the 10th Congressional District race for U.S. Rep.

Brad Schneider breaks 10th District’s 32-year Republican streak

by Vince Dixon
Nov 07, 2012

Vince Dixon/MEDILL

Crowd reacts to Brad Schneider's victory speech.

After 32 years of Republican representation, Illinois’ 10th District elected Democrat Brad Schneider as its congressman Tuesday. The victory was one of several Democratic upsets in metro Chicago’s few competitive races.

Schneider won by less than 1 percent against incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth), reflecting how tight the race had been throughout the election season. Schneider won with 130,676 votes to Dold’s 128,129 in the mostly Lake County district.

Democrats were hopeful that the recent redistricting of the area that removed swing regions and added more Democratic ones would clinch the seat. Still, Schneider and his campaign staff were unsure about how the night would turn out.

“We knew it was close and we knew it could go either way,” Schneider told reporters after the win.

The race was laden with campaign ads from both parties. Schneider’s ads accused Dold of preferring to vote with Tea Party and Republican agendas, which the Dold campaign continuously denied. Media outlets criticized the Schneider camp’s accusations, noting Dold’s recognition by analysts as one of the most independently voting congressmen.

“Tonight the ads are finally off our TVs,” Schneider said in his victory speech.

He said 10th District voters sent a message to Congress — people are ready for change.

“I fundamentally believe we can make a difference,” he told about 200 supporters.

Similar victory speeches from Democrats were heard in other tight district races. Tammy Duckworth defeated U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-McHenry) in the 8th District, while in the 11th District challenger and former U.S. Rep. Bill Foster took the seat from U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Hinsdale).

Meanwhile, Dold’s concession urged Republicans to stay hopeful.

“There’s too much at stake to grow disheartened,” Dold said. “Stay in touch and stay engaged.”

The Democratic congressional triumphs in Illinois were not a national trend. Republicans were able to keep a majority in the House, but were unable to overthrow Democratic control of the Senate.

Supporters at Schneider’s Election Night party at the Hilton Hotel in Northbrook said they were there to cheer on Democrats nationwide just as much as Schneider.

“Because Schneider is a Democrat, anytime a Democrat wins, it’s good for us,” said Adam Margolis, 33, a campaign volunteer from Highland Park.

The major victory for Schneider supporters and Democrats at the party was President Barack Obama’s re-election. The Schneider crowd went wild when media outlets projected the president’s victory.

“Obama won; Brad won — it’s very exciting,” Margolis said.

The presidential win wasn’t as much of a surprise as Schneider’s narrow victory.

“I honestly thought that we would get President Obama re-elected, but not Brad, and I’m so glad I was wrong,” said Carol Golder, of Winnetka.

Going forward, 10th District voters can expect the congressman-elect to support the president’s endeavors. Throughout his campaign, Schneider promised he’d stick by the president’s endeavors more than the current Congress.