Although I’ve talked a bit about Dan Seals and Bob Dold already, I thought that now was a good time to delve a little further into each candidate.
Dan Seals holds a solid position at this point. The voters of the 10th district know who he is. They are, for the most part, familiar with his positions on issues. And, fortunately for Seals, his positions on issues fits very nicely into the 10th. Seals is socially moderate, supporting gay marriage and abortion. He’s a fiscal conservative, preferring to focus on job creation and smart spending instead of simply cutting taxes. He supports the President, but he has also made it clear that he will not be a rubber stamp for the administration, disagreeing with the President’s course of action in Afghanistan. Seals has one possible liability; he is a 3-time candidate. However, primary voters already knew this and still selected him as their choice, despite facing another well-funded primary challenger. So far, Seals has been able to turn what could be a negative into a positive, mostly by leveraging the relationships built with local organizations and voters over the last few years.
Bob Dold is more difficult to analyze than Seals, simply because there is less information about him. Based on what I have read and seen, it looks like Dold is a fairly typical conservative Republican. He wants lower taxes, strong defense, and the health care reform bill to die a painful death. Unsurprisingly, he has worked on selling himself as a moderate Mark Kirk Republican. I’m not so sure that the comparison is a good one. In the primary, Dold says that he supports Roe v. Wade, but he does not support the public funding of abortion or late-term abortions, while he does support parental notification. He’s also been “recommended” by the Illinois Federation for Right to Life. As they explain on their site, they cannot endorse Dold because he considered a pro-choice candidate. However, due to his many agreements with Illinois Right to Life, he was “recommended” above all of the other candidates. Also, Dold has been supportive of the Tea Party movement, saying they have a “great voice.” No matter your feelings on the Tea Party and their positions, I think it is easy to agree that they are not moderate. Remember that this is the same Tea Party and the same pro-life organization that refused to support Mark Kirk and actively worked against him in some instances.
My concern is this: Dold seems to have an awful lot of stock Republican talking points in his issue positions. As I’ve said before, the 10th is a very independent district. Would freshman Congressman Dold vote against his party if the time comes? Is he too conservative for this district? Maybe he’ll show us an independent streak during the campaign. I hope so, because it will make things more interesting.
Money will be vital to both campaigns, as the winner of the money race will have more opportunities to reach the voters. It’s also very possible that this election could come down to the final push. At this point, it is futile to try and predict how this race will turn out. Either way, it should be an entertaining campaign to watch.