The most recent poll, taken by Anzalone Liszt Research for the campaign of Democrat Dan Seals and released September 7, showed Seals ahead of Republican Bob Dold, 46% to 38%. The poll had a 4.4% margin of error. Congressional Quarterly rates the race, for the seat covering Chicago’s affluent north suburbs, as a toss-up. The seat is an open one; its current occupant, Republican Mark Kirk, is running for Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.
Seals is an Illinois native of mixed ethnicity. He earned an undergraduate degree in journalism from Boston University and has a master’s degree in international economics and Japanese studies from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago and currently works as an independent business consultant. Seals has run for Congress twice, but he lost to Mark Kirk, who is now running for the Senate.
Dold, grew up in an Illinois suburb, earned a degree in political science from Denison University. He later earned a law degree from Indiana University and an Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Dold has worked for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and served during the George H.W. Bush administration as an aide to Vice President Dan Quayle.
Seals has voiced his support for strong America-Israel relations during his two congressional campaigns. A statement on his official campaign site says that peace is not possible without “an absolute Palestinian commitment to end violence, terror, and incitement and a commitment” for the two states to live peacefully. Seals states that he views Israel as America’s key democratic ally in the Middle East and that he views Israel’s survival as an essential part of America’s foreign policy.
During the June flotilla incident that resulted in deaths on the Mavi Marmara, Seals released statements supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against constant rocket fire from Gaza and the soldiers’ right to defend themselves when they were attacked while boarding the ship: “I know of no legitimate humanitarian aid organization whose staff or volunteers would violently assault soldiers with metal pipes, chains, knives, and stun grenades, as video of the incident clearly shows. Israeli troops were provoked and physically threatened from the very beginning of the intervention — with tragic consequences.”
Dold criticized the current administration’s use of public pressure on Israel, saying that though the United States can play an important role in the peace process, ultimately it is up to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to come to a peace agreement. He supports Israel’s right to defend itself from all and any threat from a nuclear Iran. He supports a two-state solution.
Seals supports the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010: “We must do everything within our power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he said in an official statement. “A nuclear-armed Iran threatens not only the… security of the United States and its allies, but the very existence of Israel. We have a moral and strategic obligation to stand firmly and unequivocally with Israel. A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.”
Dold said he supports sanctions that attack the Iranian energy sector, including the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act. He has also called for increased measures by President Obama, including “increasing economic sanctions on the current regime and the country’s central bank; increasing sanctions against foreign suppliers, insurers and brokers of gasoline, and support for democracy groups inside Iran.”
Seals has been outspoken about his disapproval of the president’s decision to deploy 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan. He is “skeptical of whether 30,000 additional troops will make the difference” in the face of the unpopularity and corruption that he says plague the government of America’s ally Hamid Karzai. Seals said that the conditions that foster terrorism, such as poverty, ignorance and repression, must be eliminated.
“I don’t support nation-building for four reasons,” Seals told the Chicago Tribune. “First, our troops aren’t trained for it. Second, we don’t have a credible partner to build the nation with us or manage it after we’ve left. Third, I don’t think the Afghans want a nation as badly as we do. Fourth, nation-building often comes without an exit strategy. So I would like a force-level that allows us to pursue and destroy Al Qaeda, but not one that is designed to occupy and run the country.”
Dold, on the other hand, supports Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. He said the president made a mistake by announcing a specific date for withdrawing troops, claiming that he undermined the mission in doing so. “The enemy in that region is certainly capable of going underground for a defined period of time and re-emerging after our date for departure. We must set benchmarks for success instead of timelines for withdrawal,” Dold said.
Counterterrorism and civil liberties
Seals said that any surveillance undertaken by the president and national security agencies must be authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts because without judicial oversight, there is no real protection for the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens.
Seals has voiced his support of the president’s decision to shut down Guantanamo Bay and transfer alleged terrorists to American prisons. He favors civilian courts over military tribunals for trying alleged terrorists. “Civilian courts do offer defendants a megaphone for their warped ideology,” he states, “but I think that is more than compensated for by the moral authority a transparent trial would bring.”
Seals also supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that protects workers against sexual orientation and discrimination based on gender identity.
Dold has said that the Guantanamo Bay facility should not be closed, especially since the United States has spent $200 million on the detention center. He said that military commissions should try the detainees held there. He also supports roving wiretapping and subpoenas of medical, business, and library records without informing the person under investigation. Dold said “the Patriot Act has been widely misunderstood… provisions were put into place to deal with technologically sophisticated terrorists.”
Health Care and Social Security
Seals believes in reducing Social Security payouts by “means-testing recipients.” He said that wealthier Americans do not need the Social Security money as much as poorer individuals, and the payments should reflect that. He supports raising the cap on Social Security taxes because it “disproportionately hits poorer Americans.”
Dold supports a plan that would partially privatize Social Security. He proposed raising the age of beneficiaries to reflect the longer life expectancy. “Additionally, I would propose allowing a portion of Social security payments (not more that 25%) to be put into government-authorized individual retirement accounts that would be able to be passed to heirs if not used.”
Seals supports abortion rights. He opposes a constitutional ban, because “evidence suggest legal restrictions would only serve to drive women to seek abortions outside of the medical system, where economically disadvantaged women… would face unsafe procedures.” He advocates an increase in education that would prevent unwanted pregnancies. His official website does not elaborate on his stance on partial-birth procedures, federally funded abortions or parental-notification laws.
Dold is pro choice and believes the decision is personal and individual; however, he opposes partial-birth abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger. He also supports parental-notification laws, opposes federal funding for abortions and supports education programs that would limit unwanted pregnancies.
Seals supports same-sex marriage as the way to ensure that same-sex partners receive equal legal rights and privileges, including property rights, adoption rights, equitable tax treatment and survivor benefits. He supports the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. He supports the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which repeals the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and said he believes in granting same-sex couples the same immigration benefits as detailed in the Uniting American Families Act.
Dold supports the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman, but said that he supports the right of same-sex couples “to enter into contractual relationships.”
Dan Seals (D)
Last Report: June 30, 2010
Robert Dold (R)
Last Report: June 30, 2010
During Joe Biden’s fundraising trip for Seals and Alexi Giannoulias, Dold criticized the vice president for using taxpayer money to finance the trip. Biden’s representatives dispelled the allegation and asserted that candidate and national Democratic funds were used to pay for the trip, since White House travel rules prevent taxpayer money to be used for political trips.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library, the Jewish population of Illinois in 2001 was 270,000, which constituted 2.2% of the population. No data were available on the Jewish population of the 10th Congressional District, but it is significantly larger.