Brad Schneider overcame a fierce challenge from a candidate half his age Tuesday night to win the Democratic primary for the 10th Congressional District on the North Shore.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Schneider had 47 percent of the vote, compared with 39 percent for Ilya Sheyman, a 25-year-old community organizer.
Candidate John Tree, a Long Grove businsessman and full colonel in the U.S. Air Force, had 8 percent of the vote. Vivek Bavda, a lawyer from Mundelein, had 6 percent.
Schneider, 50, a Deerfield industrial engineer and management consultant, picked up key endorsements from several current and former North Shore Democratic state senators and representatives, as well as former U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean.
Sheyman, a community organizer from Waukegan just a few years out of McGill University, was allied with the strongly liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
The race drew national interest because Illinois Democrats re-mapped the 10th to make it among the best potential pick-up districts in the country. Schneider now faces freshman Republican Rep. Bob Dold of Kenilworth in November.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel scheduled a conference call Wednesday to announce top “red-to-blue” congressional target seats based on Tuesday’s results. Schneider is expected to top the list, followed closely by Tammy Duckworth and Bill Foster, both of whom also were expected to take on incumbent Republicans.
“It’s an opportunity, and we intend to do everything we can to make sure we capitalize on that opportunity,” Schneider said of his chance to turn a Republican seat Democratic.
As primary day neared, the race became increasingly nasty, with Sheyman suggesting that Schneider’s past donations to pro-life Republicans called into question his pro-choice candidacy. Schneider’s campaign fired back, accusing Sheyman of “spreading lies about the true progressive, Brad Schneider,” and saying Sheyman is funded by “out-of-state special interests.”