Updated 11:00 a.m. | Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering announced a bid in Illinois’ 10th District Tuesday, putting Democrats on a likely primary collision course in a must-win seat for the party.
Rotering hopes to face GOP Rep. Robert Dold, a moderate Republican who won his second, non-consecutive term in this suburban Chicago-based district in 2014. But she is likely to face a primary against former Rep. Brad Schneider, the Democrat who lost to Dold in November.
Schneider moved closer to entering the contest this month, after national Democrats brought him to Washington, D.C., to convince him to run.
In her announcement, Rotering seemed unmoved by the prospect of a primary.
“Exploring this Congressional run proved that my background, experience and energy are what the residents of the 10th District want and need,” Rotering said in a release. “I am running because of the strong support I have received within and outside of the District.”
Schneider’s campaign was quick to release polling showing him with a decisive lead over Rotering in a primary.
The survey showed Schneider leading Rotering 56 percent to 12 percent among likely Democratic primary voters. What’s more, 64 percent of likely Democratic primary voters had a favorable view of Schneider. The poll, conducted by Democratic pollster Jill Normington, surveyed 430 likely Democratic primary voters over two days last week, and had a margin of error of 4.7 points.
Still, a primary could be problematic for Democrats.
This district, located in the Chicago media market, is one of the state’s most expensive. A contested primary could force Democrats to spend vital resources on each other, rather than on beating Dold, a top target in 2016.
Though the Republican won in 2014, this district historically leans Democratic in presidential years.
President Barack Obama was victorious there in 2008 and 2012 by 27- and 16-point margins, respectively. That makes it a must-win seat as Democrats look to net 30 seats to win control of the House — a challenging task with the current congressional map.
Knowing he’ll be a top target, the National Republican Congressional Committee placed Dold in its Patriot Program, which provides fundraising and organizational support for its most vulnerable incumbents.