WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., announced on Tuesday that he will not seek another comeback battle with Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., ending a roller coaster era when each man won two 10th Congressional District terms.
“Serving as a strong, independent voice for the 10th District has been one of the greatest honors of Bob’s life,” Dold spokesman Danielle Hagen said in a statement.
“Commitment to public service will remain a top personal priority for him, but after deep consideration with his family, Bob has decided not to run for Congress in 2018.”
The bruising and expensive campaigns of Dold and Schneider drew national attention with Dold — as did former Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who held the seat before him — being part of the vanishing breed of moderate Republicans who supported abortion rights.
Dold, 47, from Kenilworth, won the seat in 2010 and 2014, mid-term years during the Barack Obama presidency, when Republicans made gains.
Schneider, 55, a Deerfield resident, won in 2012 and 2016, presidential years that boosted Democratic turnout.
The 10th District takes in northern suburbs hugging Lake Michigan, from a part of Glencoe to Highland Park to Waukegan to the Wisconsin border; west to Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills; and then northwest, taking in areas around Round Lake Beach and Grayslake.
Dold’s decision not to run again cleared the path for Republican Jeremy Wynes, 37, to jump in on Tuesday.
Wynes, a Highland Park resident, an attorney and former Midwest regional director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, opened the Chicago office for the Republican Jewish Coalition in 2014.
The Jewish vote has always been important in the 10th. Schneider who is Jewish, has a long association with Israel-related issues.
Wynes told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview on Tuesday that if he were in the House now, he would have voted last week against the GOP health care bill.
Only 20 House Republicans were against the measure to eliminate key elements of Obamacare, with many in that group facing tough 2018 re-election races. Democrats will make the 2018 House races in part a referendum on Trumpcare.
In his announcement video, Wynes called himself “socially moderate” and “fiscally responsible,” retooling the more often used formulation of the phrase, “fiscal conservative.”
In the interview, Wynes said he backed abortion rights and did not vote for President Donald Trump last November, but he did not back Democrat Hillary Clinton either.
In his announcement video, he emphasized that he would be an “independent” — and did not use the Republican label.
“There are significant areas where I can show independence,” Wynes said, a theme successfully used in past contests by Kirk and Dold.
Wynes was born in downstate Milan, near Rock Island. He attended Illinois State University and then picked up a law degree from DePaul.
The open Republican spot will likely lure more contenders into the contest. In 2000, when former Rep. John Porter, R-Ill., retired, 11 rivals ran in the primary, and Kirk won. Once Kirk stepped down to run for the Senate, there were five Republicans in the 2010 primary won by Dold.
In 2018, Wynes may get some help clearing the field for him from the GOP Illinois establishment, eager to avoid an expensive primary. No Democrat has surfaced to take on Schneider, who in 2016 beat back a primary challenge from Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering.
10TH VOTING HISTORY
Clinton overwhelmingly whipped Trump in the 10th District last November by far more than Schneider beat Dold, results that give hope to the GOP that it can retake this swing district. The GOP handicappers are betting Schneider can’t win in a non-presidential year.
Clinton bested Trump with 62 percent of the vote to 32.6 for Trump.
In that same 2016 election, Schneider beat Dold 52.9 percent to 47.4 percent, still, his best showing since the two first tangled in 2010.
Keeping Schneider in the seat is a priority of the House Democratic political shop, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Wynes’ team is being advised by well-connected Republican operatives: Mike Schrimpf, a political consultant for Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state GOP party; Chip Englander, who was Rauner’s campaign manager; and James Slepian, who ran Dold’s campaign and knows the district inside and out.
Schneider’s top consultant is Democratic strategist Eric Adelstein.
In a statement, Schneider said that with more than a year until the election, “My focus is serving the people of the Tenth District and representing their priorities in Washington, including growing the economy to create quality, well-paying jobs that raise working Americans’ standards of living, protecting the progress of the Affordable Care Act from irresponsible repeal, and ensuring a healthy, sustainable environment for future generations.
“There will be plenty of time for campaigns next year, and I look forward to a rigorous debate on the issues at that time.”