Experts consider Schakowsky seat safe

October 28, 2010 3:36:21 PM PDT
Congressman Jan Schakowsky has served the 9th Congressional District since 1999. That district represents more than 653,000 people, including Chicago's North Side, several north and northwest suburbs.

Republican Joel Pollak and Green party candidate Simon Ribeiro are trying to unseat the Democratic incumbent.

For 12 years, Schakowsky has easily been re-elected to Congress with over 70 percent of the vote, but this year Schakowsky admits her 33-year-old Harvard-educated Republican opponent is giving her some competition. She calls Pollak the most aggressive candidate she has ever faced.

But this six-term congresswoman says she is not too worried.

"This tea party-supported candidate does not really reflect the values of this district, which for many decades has been a solidly Democratic district, but really a progressive district as well," said Schakowsky.

The 9th District covers some of the northern suburbs and Chicago's Far North Side. It is a racially and economically diverse district.

The area includes a large Jewish population. Pollak, who is an Orthodox Jew, accuses Schakowsky, who is also Jewish, of being soft on Israel.

"My opponent believes that we should pressure Israel to make further concessions," Pollak said. "She believes that the Obama administration has done the right thing on Israel."

"I feel that this is a grasp at trying to find an issue," said Schakowsky. "We differ on a lot of things. Israel is not one on them."

Schakowsky and Pollak do differ on the economy. He believes Democrats spend too much, while Schakowsky says the stimulus bill saved the economy and jobs.

The two candidates are far apart on social issues.

"My opponent the most leftwing member of the House of Representatives," said Pollak.

"This is a district that has supported the president, has supported progressive policies, that's pro-choice," Schakowsky said.

Green party candidate Ribeiro is hoping voters are turned off by the bitterness between the two major parties and will vote Green in the 9th District.

"I think negative campaigns turn off a lot of people," said Ribeiro. "Maybe that can benefit people like me that try and stay positive. In the end, people...want to know what that candidate can do for them."

Ribeiro believes in universal health care and more tax relief for the lower and middle classes.

While Pollak is confident his voice is being heard throughout the 9th District, and his support is picking up, political experts consider Schakowsky's seat safe for the Democratic party.

However, Schakowsky says she never take a race for granted and always has a campaign staff and plenty of volunteers.


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