Ilya Sheyman, a 25-year-old former MoveOn organizer, started running for Congress a year ago. Bradley Schneider, a businessman who'd donated to Republicans, jumped in after Sheyman did -- his profile, according to Democrats like Steny Hoyer, would fit a swingy suburban district in the Chicago suburbs. But he might not get to test the theory. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has been attacking Democratic inboxes with Sheyman appeals for weeks, has put out a new poll that shows him locking this thing down. (The $120,000 raised by PCCC has not hurt.)
Illinois's one of the only states where Democrats controlled the redistricting process stem-to-stern. They carved up the state to force Republicans into safe seats and spread Democrats around to competitive, but Democratic-leaning districts. IL-10 is not safe Democratic turf. "This is all about how the PCCC/IL-10 Dems will find a new way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," says David Wasserman, House races editor at the Cook Political Report. The Forces of Sheyman disagree. It's 2012, with a little voter remorse about putting the GOP House in place; it's Illinois, with Barack Obama guaranteed an easy win that could ripple in the suburbs.
"Saying that a candidate who is bolder on job creation, protecting Social Security, and holding Wall Street accountable can't win in the Occupy Wall Street era and in a district that President Obama won with over 60% is very old school thinking," says PCCC's Adam Green. "It's the same thinking that, in actuality, teaches Democrats how to be weak and lose elections. Ilya Sheyman will win the general and, like Elizabeth Warren, be a model for how Democrats can win and win progressively."