Two suburban Democrats go to Washington to weigh bids for Congress
Democrat Brad Schneider is in Washington, D.C., this week, having met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Tuesday about a potential third rematch run against Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Dold in 2016.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering is in the capital this week, too, talking to people to explore a run as a Democrat for the same seat in the north suburban 10th Congressional District.
Rotering didn't say for sure whether she'd pursue a primary challenge to the one-term former Rep. Schneider if he decided to pursue a return to Congress.
But the first-term mayor also said she's leaning toward a run.
"We're getting a really great response from people in the district," Rotering said. "We are definitely leaning toward going for it."
Schneider hasn't said much publicly about a rematch race after losing a narrow election to Dold in November, but he's being encouraged to do it. Schneider defeated Dold to go to Congress for the first time in 2012.
State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat and chairman of the Lake County party, praised both potential candidates but liked the idea of another Schneider run.
"If Brad decides to run again, I will support him," Link said.
Lauren Beth Gash, head of the Tenth Congressional District Democrats, similarly praised both. And she said her group wouldn't endorse in a primary, as usual.
"I don't see that changing," Gash said.
Gash also said she's heard from several other people expressing an interest in the race, so other candidates could emerge.
Why it matters
The 10th Congressional District is -- again -- poised to be at the top of the national list of hotly contested races to go to Washington.
Tossup districts like the 10th are rare across the country. And the 10th keeps flipping parties back and forth every election, so it's ripe for another big race.
If Schneider, of Deerfield, runs, it'd be his third bid against Dold, of Kenilworth.
'Desperate, partisan ambition'
Dold has been put on a list of a dozen House Republicans across the country that the national party plans to focus on.
Spokesman James Slepian said Dold has been working to establish a bipartisan record.
"While we fully expect a spirited 2016 campaign, potential challengers who began name dropping themselves into the race before congressman Dold even took office have made clear that their candidacies would be fueled by nothing but desperate, partisan political ambition," he said.
The heroin fight
In announcing legislation aimed at fighting heroin addiction, former state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, an Elmhurst Republican, told reporter Erin Hegarty that while deaths from overdoses grab headlines, lots of hospitalizations show the scope of the problem.
"If they realized how many people among their neighbors' children are making their way to local hospitals for life saving efforts, then I think people would realize it's not just an isolated event surrounding their neighbor or their neighbor's kid, but it's the entire community being affected," he said.
Fixing prison system
Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed a slew of experts to a committee that will focus on reforming the state's criminal justice system.
On the panel from the suburbs: Republican state Sens. Michael Connelly of Lisle and Karen McConnaughay of St. Charles, along with Democratic state Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin.
"The current prison system is costly, overcrowded and ineffective," Rauner said.
The state budget crisis looms over everything, though. State prisons will run out of money to make payroll at some point this spring unless Rauner and lawmakers can cut a deal to move some money around.