IL-10 lands “On the Radar” of the GOP, NRCC

Democrat Brad Schneider is the Congressional Representative in Illinois 10th District, and that doesn’t sit well with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

The IL-10 Congressional seat has flipped four times in the last four election cycles. 2010 and 2014 went to Bob Dold (R), while Brad Schneider (D) took the seat in 2012 and 2016. With 2018 just around the corner, the GOP wants IL-10 back.

From left to right: Sapan Shah, Jeremy Wynes, Doug Bennett

Dold announced he would not run early in 2018. The three announced candidates for the Republican IL-10 nomination in the primary, Doug Bennett (Deerfield), Sapan Shah (Libertyville), and Jeremy Wynes (Highland Park) have all been placed into the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program. What does that mean exactly, and how does that play out in the primary?


According to the NRCC’s “Young Guns” site:

“Once candidates fulfill enrollment requirements, they become eligible to advance to the first level of the program: On the Radar.

On the Radar candidates are individuals running in competitive congressional seats.  They have met the minimum threshold in campaign organization and show potential to achieve greater status in the program as the cycle progresses.”

Enrollment requirements, huh? Sounds more like a matriculation process than a political campaign. At least we know each campaign is good at filling out forms… and raising money… or at least borrowing money from themselves. From Patch:

According to last quarter’s fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission, Shah had more than $300,000 in available cash, having given himself $100,000. Wynes gave himself $2,700 and had more than $220,000 cash on hand after raising $98,345 in the quarter, while Bennett raised $8,260, loaned his campaign about $115,000 and had just over $114,000.

And there’s room to grow in the Young Guns program, but as of yet, no “Contenders…on the path to developing a mature and competitive campaign” have been named. There’s a third step in the program, but for the life of me I can’t remember what unique name they gave it. Oh well.

A closer look: Young Guns “On the Radar” class of 2018

Of the twenty-three U.S. House districts represented in the “On the Radar” list, four of those districts (FL-07, KS-02, NH-01, and NM-02) have two candidates battling the other for primary supremacy, while only one district of the twenty-three, the Illinois’ Tenth Congressional District, has three candidates vying for the spot.

In a district that trends historically towards moderates, (Kirk and Dold both fancied themselves as such) the Trump-era GOP seems befuddled about whom to bet on. Hillary Clinton thumped Donald J. Trump by over 20 points in the Lake county portion of the district alone. So selecting all three candidates to be a part of a program, “that identifies candidates… who embody the principles of the House Republican Conference and show promise of running a successful campaign,” when mathematically at least two of the three will be losers? SAD!

Maybe these GOP primary candidates haven’t had enough time yet to stoop to the soulless levels that, “embody the principles of the House Republican Conference.” Like taking healthcare away from 9 million American children. Or trying to take healthcare away from 32 million Americans. You know, principles.

So what if the NRCC has no idea which GOP candidate to back in this race? They’ll just throw mud at the wall and see what sticks, right? As reported in Roll Call:

Being named as an “On the Radar” candidate does not mean the committee will be contributing to the campaigns, since the NRCC does not get involved in open primaries. Instead, the program is a way to showcase candidates.

Who wins this primary doesn’t matter to the GOP and NRCC

Roll Call’s Inside Elections With Nathan L. Gonzales, (formerly The Rothenberg Political Report) lists the Illinois 10th as a “solid Democratic” seat. So what’s the end-game of boosting the profile of these candidates in a seat that is considered to be solid for Democrats?

The GOP is ready to back whomever the voters think is the best horse for the race because the district is too important strategically to not put up a substantial fight. This will force Democrats to play defense. Ads in the Chicago market are at a premium, and all the advertising dollars that will flow into the IL-10th from the GOP side of the equation requires matching funds from the Democrats. And if Democratic dollars are tied up in their own expensive backyard defending the IL-10, districts in Iowa, Kentucky, and New Mexico get a GOP boost by the lack of DNCC funds to compete in redder areas. If the Dems want to be able to fight a 50 state battle, then they are going to need to lock down the IL-10. 

No matter what, the GOP plans to duke it out with Schneider

The 2018 cycle gives us the opportunity to send the message that Trump and the GOP does not represent the values of our district. We need to be ready to step up and make our voices heard at the polls. Here’s what you can do today:

  • Make a commitment to vote in the 2018 Midterms (and the Primary)!
  • Sign up to become a deputy voter registrar and register young voters  
  • Talk to your friends and neighbors; don’t just make snarky posts on facebook, twitter, or instagram.
  • Help canvass a neighborhood, asking other people to commit to voting in the 2018 midterms
  • Join others who share your passion, whether it’s the environment, institutional inequality, healthcare, or any other of a host of issues, and help guide our resistance to the Trump Administration and Congressional GOP leadership’s backward looking agenda
  • Sign up to volunteer to drive voters to the polls

Remember, this race is a marathon, not a sprint, and the starting gun hasn’t even gone off yet.

Be Present. Stay Active.
Make Your Voice Heard