Sabato's Crystal Ball

Illinois (10) House 2010

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans D

Democratic candidate: Dan Seals

Republican candidate: Bob Dold

Recent Updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: September 28

Mark Kirk, representing the 10th district of Illinois since 2001, has decided to forgo a possible sixth term in the House in favor of pursuing a Senate seat. Kirk’s victory margin has been steadily declining from a high of 69% of the vote in the 2002 elections to a closer, but still safe, margin of 53% in the 2008 election. Kirk is leaving behind an open seat which will feature a tight race between Democrat Dan Seals and Republican Bob Dold. It would be the first elected position for either candidate to hold, though both have experience working in Washington.

No one is more grateful that Kirk decided to attempt a transition from the House to the Senate than Dan Seals. When Seals won the Democratic primary on February 2, he gained his third opportunity to become the Representative for the 10th district. Seals was the first loser in both the 2006 and 2008 elections, receiving 47% of the vote to Kirk’s 53% twice in both years. Seals, with the experience of two Congressional campaigns behind him, has already established positions on a wide range of issues from health care (lower costs, expand coverage!) and the economy (support small business!) to immigration (broken!) and Israel (friend!).

Bob Dold became the Republican Party’s hope to hold Mark Kirk’s open seat by gaining 39% of the primary vote on February 2. Dold and Seals have similar positions on several issues, including the importance of small business and our “special bond” with Israel, but Dold has weighed in on decidedly fewer issues than his opponent. In a district that has voted overwhelmingly for Obama (Obama-61% to McCain’s 38%), Dold might be wise to take a moderate stance, at least at the beginning of his campaign.

Mirroring the upcoming election, the two candidates were extremely close in campaign receipts for the quarter ending on January 13. Seals received slightly more in contributions, but Dold has a slight advantage in cash on hand. The 10th district has elected a Republican Congressional representative for the past 30 years, but the election this fall is a Toss-Up.