Republican Bob Dold won back Tuesday the north suburban 10th Congressional District seat he lost two years ago to Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider.
“You believed in our campaign, and our shared vision for getting our country back on track,” Dold told supporters as he declared victory just before 10 p.m.
Schneider gave a 20 minute concession speech about a half-hour earlier, with wife Julie and his two college-age sons, Adam and Daniel, at his side.
He started out by telling the somber crowd of about 150 supporters: “I wish I had better news.”
“I offer my congratulations to Robert Dold. This has been a hard fought campaign, and I wish you only good in representing our district.”
Schneider thanked his family “and everyone who has earned my enduring gratitude and helped us here and across the country.”
Dold led Schneider with 52 percent of the vote and 98 percent of precincts reporting. An apprehensive crowd spent the night at Schneider’s Northbrook Hilton election night party.
There were lots of tears amongst supporters as Schneider made his way through the room.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race in the end,” said Martin Wentzel, 58. He was there with wife, Mary, 55, who was teary-eyed and too emotional to speak. The couple made their first foray into politics with Schneider’s campaign.
“I canvassed 3,000 homes this summer,” Wentzel said. “Our volunteerism had to compete with all the money, and that’s what really bothered me.”
Schneider, a freshman from Deerfield, in 2012 narrowly defeated the one-term Dold, who lives in Kenilworth.
Schneider beat Dold with help from a new Democratic-drawn district map. Before that, the district was represented by Republican Sen. Mark Kirk.
This time around, Schneider blamed Washington gridlock for “hindering the issue of growing the economy and the promise of a better life for our children.” And he complained that Republican leadership in the House refused to allow a vote on immigration reform.
In another congressional race around the Chicago area, Democratic incumbent Rep. Bill Foster declared victory over Republican state Rep. Darlene Senger in the 11th Congressional District in the southwest suburbs.
“This is a victory for everyone who believes in strengthening the middle class, who believes that America succeeds when the middle class succeeds, and who believes in raising the minimum wage so that full-time workers aren’t living in poverty,” Foster said in a written statement.
Foster beat Senger with 53percent of the vote with all precincts reporting.
Job growth and immigration reform were among the hot issues in their campaign.
Foster has held the seat since November 2012 after defeating former U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert. From 2008 to 2011, Foster represented Illinois’ 14th Congressional District.
Senger has been a state representative since 2009. Before that she was on the Naperville City Council from 2002 to 2008.
Senger said she called Foster shortly after 10 p.m. to “congratulate him on his victory.”
“It’s been a lively campaign,” Senger said. “I still believe we are not anywhere where we need to be in Illinois… the number one thing in Illinois is to get people back to work.”
She praised the work of campaign workers, who applauded her as she stood with her family.
Senger has said she’s concerned about Illinois’ lackluster job growth.
“I want to get back to the day where we have good policies in place to create not just more jobs, but quality jobs and jobs with opportunities,” Senger said.
She also said government over-regulation has helped dampen that growth.
As a businessman, Foster said he understands the needs of business owners.
Foster said in order to continue growing the region’s economy, “we need to invest in advanced manufacturing technologies and training in order to prepare our children to compete in a global work force.”
On immigration reform, Senger said, “we have to come up with a plan that will get one to legal status that’s done in a fair and honest way.”
Foster said he supports comprehensive immigration reform, arguing it would add a much needed economic boost nationally and in Illinois.
Contributing: Steve Lord