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Democrats Face Ideological House Primaries

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Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
In New Mexico’s 1st district Democratic primary, the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee has declared war on former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chávez (above), instead endorsing state Sen. Eric Griego.

The rhetoric in PCCC attacks, not surprising given how activists at both extreme ends of the political spectrum see things, is predictable. One of the group’s emails calls Schneider a “supporter” of “right-wing Republicans,” while another inaccurately portrays Schneider as a “Blue Dog.”

It is hard to find issue differences between the two Illinois Democrats, though there certainly are differences in style and tone.

Schneider, 50, has spent years in business as a consultant and working with the pro-Israel community. Sheyman has been an activist and organizer in Illinois, Vermont and nationally. Schneider believes that his experience and his more easygoing, personable style should give him an advantage in the race, but in a low-turnout race anything is possible.

The winner will face freshman Republican Rep. Robert Dold, who kept the seat in GOP hands when he won Kirk’s former seat. But Illinois Democrats made this district even more Democratic than it has been for the past decade, and that makes the Republicans’ hold on it tenuous.

Republicans, of course, would much prefer to face Sheyman in the fall because they believe they can portray him as more extreme, making the district’s upscale voters uncomfortable with his aggressive style and views. And, they believe, his age and lack of real world experience apart from political activism would benefit Dold in a general election.

Dold ended 2011 with almost $1 million in the bank, and his record and rhetoric on Israel should resonate with the substantial Jewish population in the district.

The Democratic primary will take place March 20.

The PCCC is also active in New Mexico’s 1st district, bashing Chávez as it pushes for Griego. A third Democrat, Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, is also in the primary, which is scheduled for June 5.

Chávez, who was first elected to the state Senate 25 years ago, served three terms as mayor of the state’s largest city. Soft-spoken and emphasizing his approach as a problem-solver rather than an ideologue, he presents himself as someone who has tried to work with the business community whenever possible.

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