WASHINGTON--Former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean, who backs Ilya Sheyman in the Illinois 10th district House primary, is highlighting rival Brad Schneider's contributions to Republican candidates. Meanwhile, former Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) hosted a fund-raiser for Schneider on Tuesday.
"I want to make one thing clear: we can't send a "Democrat" who supports Republicans to Congress and expect to get better results," Dean wrote in an e-mail.
News from various fronts as the Democratic Illinois House contest for the 10th congressional district heats up with major players Sheyman, Schneider and John Tree competing to face freshman Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) next November:
* Dean, the former Vermont governor and presidential candidate endorsed Sheyman early, last May. The e-mail he sent out Monday goes to what may be an achilles heel for Schneider: political donations to Republicans, most of them to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illl.) when he was running for a 10th District House seat. Schneider's Kirk donations, $3,300 in all, were in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
"He's the proven progressive leader who will beat Republican Bob Dold. But to win in November, he has to get through the democratic primary first. So let me tell you all you need to know about the other self-described "Democrat," wrote Dean.
Besides Kirk, Dean highlighted contributions to Republicans Bob Bennett, Utah and Mike Johanns, Nebraska ($250 each) and $1,000 to Republican Mike Rogers, Michigan.
Schneider does have a long donation history to Democrats.
Eric Adelstein, Schneider's top strategist replied said all the donations to Republicans had to to with their support for Israel.
"Lots of progressives and Dems supported Kirk in the day... Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, etc," Adelstein wrote to me in an e-mail.
"Schneider gave him money because Israel was so important to him but Brad has given 10 times as much to Democrats---Schakowsky, Durbin, Pelosi and others.
"To single out less than 10 per cent of his donations is dishonest distortion of the facts. I guess that's what happens when you are the front runner," wrote Adelstein."
*Sheyman will get a boost tonight from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has potent on-line fund-raising ability. The PCCC will host an "Online Town Hall with Ilya Sheyman."
The progressives are framing Schneider and Sheyman thus: "bold progressive Ilya Sheyman squaring off against a corporate Democrat in Illinois' 10th Congressional District."
* Sheyman picked up the endorsement of Cook County Board Member Larry Suffredin.
* Schneider was endorsed by House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). The nod came before Tree got in the race.