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Early fundraising results show Schneider slightly ahead of Dold

One thing Democrats and Republicans agree on in the congressional rematch between Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) and former Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) is that the contest will be close.

With less than four months until election day, Schneider is pulling slightly ahead of Dold in the fundraising race for the 10th Congressional District seat, based on what both campaigns indicate they will report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) July 15 for the quarter ended June 30. Both candidates will still have plenty of money in the bank, however.

The incumbent Schneider raised approximately $185,000 more than his challenger, Dold, and will report having between $200,000 and $300,000 more in the bank as of the end of June, according to the respective campaigns.

Dold collected more than $610,000 for the most recent quarter, according to Campaign Manager James Slepian. Slepian expects Dold to have between $1.6 and $1.7 million in cash on hand for the reporting period. He promised precise numbers when the FEC report is complete. It must be filed by July 15.

Schneider will report raising more than $795,000 for the same time frame, according to Campaign Manager Jamie Patton. He expects to report having $1.9 million in the bank. More than 60 percent of the donors were first-time givers and over 86 percent contributed less than $100.

“It shows broad- based support,” said 10th District State Central Committeewoman Lauren Beth Gash of Highland Park, who also chairs the Tenth Congressional District Democrats. “People are beginning to realize Brad (Schneider) is a leader who represents our values.”

Another indicator of a close race is the first poll showing a snapshot of the contest, released by the American Action Network, which gives Dold a 42-39 percent lead. The differential is within the survey’s margin of error.

“My understanding is that it is a Republican poll,” Gash said.

Moraine Township Republican Chairman Lou Atsaves of Lake Forest conceded that it is a Republican poll. He said he likes the results, but cautions against overconfidence at this point. The survey was automated, and cell phones could not be included in the sample as mandated by federal law.

“A lot of blue collar workers use only cell phones,” Atsaves said. “They tend to vote Democratic.”

He also has a beef with his Congressman, and it has nothing to do with fundraising or poll results.

“My disappointment in Schneider is he has still not released his tax returns,” Atsaves said. “If I were running for office I would release my joint returns. He should share them.”

Schneider has promised to release his 2013 tax return as soon as it is available. He extended his filing date as permitted by the Internal Revenue Service and is awaiting final information on certain investments, according to Patton.

West Deerfield Township Republican Chairman Mark Shaw of Lake Forest said he discounts Schneider’s fundraising lead because of his incumbency, and was encouraged by the poll results. He thinks President Barack Obama’s absence from the ballot will help Dold.

“I’m hopeful for Bob (Dold) because he lost by one point in a district President Obama won by 14,” Shaw said. “This will be a close race. It will be about who gets their supporters out to vote.”

Gash said she thinks Schneider’s growing leadership on issues of importance to people in the area will sway voters to his side. She was particularly happy when he introduced a law allowing veterans to use the GI bill for industrial job training as part of an educational benefit.

“It shows he understands the values of people in the area and what’s important to them,” Gash said. “It is an example of how he understands what is important in people’s everyday lives.”

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