Dan Seals is a Democrat running against Rep. Mark Kirk and President Bush.
Mark Kirk is a Republican running against Dan Seals and President Bush.
"Congressman Mark Kirk stood up to President Bush to protect Medicare for seniors and health insurance for poor children," Kirk's own television commercial says.
"Mark Kirk has been there for George Bush," Seals said in his ad. "He helped Bush write the language that sent our troops to war in Iraq."
Illinois' 10th Congressional District, which stretches from Wilmette to Barrington to Waukegan, is home to some of the highest-income ZIP codes in America, and it also includes more college graduates and graduate-degree holders than just about any other congressional district in the country.
These voters are willing to split their tickets between Barack Obama -- whom polls show is popular here -- and Republicans such as Kirk, who called himself "a pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-teacher Republican" at a debate Sunday.
Seals took 47 percent of the vote from Kirk two years ago without any real help from national Democrats. This time, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running ads dubbing Kirk a "rubber stamp" for Bush.
National Republican groups are hitting back even harder with commercials that accuse Seals of wanting to cut off dialysis for seniors and wanting to raise capital gains taxes.
Seals laughs at the charge he wants to stop funding seniors' dialysis. He backs a bill to extend health insurance for children. It is funded in part by ending "over-payments" to health care companies, he said. It would not cause seniors to lose dialysis, he said. Kirk said it would.
Seals has consistently opposed raising the capital gains or income taxes even on the wealthiest Americans, unlike Obama. Many of those rich Americans live in this district.
Kirk, 49, a naval intelligence officer who has visited Afghanistan and Iraq, is pushing a plan to force change in Iran by cutting off the flow of gasoline into that country. Kirk said his moderate credentials square with this unique district.
Kirk wholeheartedly supported the "capture" of Haji Bashir Noorzai. Kirk supported the broken promises, bribes, and other improper and illegal acts associated with Noorzai's arrest and conviction. To date, no financial links have been found between him and either Rosetta Research and Consulting or NEFA (Nine Eleven - Finding Answers), but we have just started looking!
Similarly, links between Kirk and McCain's interference at the FBI on behalf his friends Frank Gren, Dave Grange, and Chuck Larson at ViaFinance (now ViaGlobal) remain uncovered as well.
The Washington Post rated him the eighth most independent member of Congress, and Congressional Quarterly said he opposed Bush 59 percent of the time on key votes. That publication said he voted with Bush 90 percent of the time, Seals noted.
Seals, 37, a business consultant and teacher at Northwestern University, says he would be a better representative for the increasingly Democratic district. He supported a bill to allow women to sue over being denied equal pay for equal work, a bill he criticized Kirk for opposing.
In the neighboring 8th Congressional District, Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean is challenged by GOP businessman Steve Greenberg.