Democratic candidate for the 10th congressional district Brad Schneider voted with his two sons and his wife at the bustling Red Oak Elementary School in Highland Park as the sun rose this morning.
More than 40 Schneider volunteers toting signs and listening to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” greeted voters as the polls opened at 6 a.m. They cheered as Schneider and his sons Adam, 19, Daniel, 18, and his wife Julie arrived about a half hour later to cast their votes.
Schneider talked with Progress Illinois after casting his ballot and said he feels “fantastic”, adding that his team has been working hard for 18 months.
“We’ve been hearing people frustrated with what’s going on in Washington, the need to get Congress out of its gridlock and working for people here,” Schneider said. “I think we are going to hear that message today, and I’m confident that we’re going to hear good news tonight.”
Peter Stavropoulos, 43, an attorney who’s lived in the 10th district for a little more than four years, said Schneider had just finished voting as he arrived.
“He looked really nervous,” Stavropoulos said. “He didn’t look like he was happy that he had just voted, so it’s tough ... maybe with the new districting he’ll have a good shot.”
Stavropoulos, a Democrat, said he graduated from New Trier Township High School in 1987 and the 10th district’s Republican incumbent Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) was his graduating class’ president.
Even so, “I still had a hard time voting for him, and I did not,” Stavropoulos said.
Dold won the 10th congressional seat, which was previously held by now U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, in 2010.
The newly-drawn 10th district is predominately Democratic and includes parts of Highland Park, Lake Villa, Waukegan and other cities on the North Shore.
“I don’t think Bob’s a bad guy,” Stavropoulos said. “If he wins I’m not going to be that upset.”
Stavropoulos said it was important for him to vote today because he feels strongly about women’s rights.
“I was always a feminist, and my wife is one, and now I have a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter,” he said. “We’re really concerned about women’s issues and we wanted to come out and vote today.”
He voted alone, but added that his wife and daughter would be coming to the polls later today.
The presidential election is close, and Stavropoulos said he’s not sure who will win.
“I think the popular vote will be pretty close, and the Electoral College could go either way,” he said.
The voter knew a little bit about the referendum on the ballot, which would amend the state’s constitution to boost the number of legislative votes needed to pass pension increases for public employees.
“I wasn’t real confident in my decision,” he said, adding that he voted ‘yes’ for the measure.
David Westlake, 25, deputy field organizer for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, held a Schneider sign outside the school.
Westlake said he’s a big supporter of the environment and wants to see the next Congress “actually accomplish something.”
Although it’s been more than 30 years since a Democrat won the seat, the 10th district can be competitive, Westlake said.
“It’s a very evenly-split district,” he said. “You don’t want it to be veering to one side or the other like Dold has had to do the last two years.”
Democratic candidate Schneider said the important issues in the 10th district include growing the economy and providing quality jobs so people can put a roof over their head and send their kids to college.
Here’s what else he had to say: