WASHINGTON – The Democratic House political operation is making an exception to its rule of staying out of primaries and backing former Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., over Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering in the north suburban 10th district.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., was in Chicago April 27 to headline a fundraiser for Schneider, who lost a bid for a second term to Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill.
And on June 16 in Washington, the top Democratic House leadership will be the “special guests” at a major fundraiser for Schneider: the invite listed Lujan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif.; Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. D-Maryland; Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn. D-S.C.; Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra D-Calif.; Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
The price tiers for the Schneider DC event run from $5,000 to co-host to $500 for an individual.
“Schneider has the full support of Leader Pelosi, Chairman Lujan, and the entire Democratic caucus. We’re confident that Brad’s standing as a former member of Congress guarantees he has the resources and relationships to take back Illinois’ 10th District in 2016,” said Sacha Haworth, a DCCC spokesman.
Dold, a Kenilworth resident, won the 10th district seat in 2010 and lost it to Schneider, who lives in Deerfield, in 2012. Dold has no GOP primary opponent so far.
“I think the DCCC knows that I’m the right Democrat for the District,” said Schneider, who said he was “recruited” by the DCCC to make a comeback.
Rotering’s campaign manager, John Keig, said “It’s not news that Brad made friends while he was in Washington. Nancy has a record of getting things done. If you want to change Washington, we need a fresh voice and that’s Nancy.”
Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee is keeping an eye on the ripening Democratic battle in the 10th.
“Whoever emerges from what is sure to be a brutal Democratic primary will be bloodied, broke and facing an uphill battle in the expensive Chicago media market,” said Zach Hunter, a NRCC spokesman.
The fight in the 10th district and the northwest suburban 8th district battle to replace Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., are the two biggest Chicago area House races in 2016.
The seat is open because Duckworth is making a Senate run to replace Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.
A Democratic primary is also brewing in the 8th, where Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg business executive, is in a contest against state Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, the third cousin once removed of Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago. State Sen. Mike Noland, D-Elgin, is also exploring a House run.
While the DCCC is still officially neutral in this one – in contrast to the 10th, where the political shop is with Schneider – I get the sense that Krishnamoorthi’s fundraising ability over his rivals has caught the attention of Washington.
On Wednesday, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., will announce his Krishnamoorthi endorsement. “Raja is an immigrant success story and a leader who will fight for justice in Congress and be a voice for the hard-working Americans who do not get the recognition they deserve,” he said in a statement.
No Republican has yet jumped into the race.