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Illinois congressional hopeful’s talking points: A progressive, and a Jewish refugee

Ilya Sheyman, who is running in a contested Democratic primary for a Republican-held congressional seat in the suburbs of Chicago, has a TV ad out stressing his leanings as a progressive — and noting his family’s background as Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union.

The 25-year-old Sheyman has as his main primary competition a fellow Jewish Democrat, Brad Schneider, who is considered more of a centrist (though Schneider’s campaign manager also described his candidate as a “solid progressive”). The two are vying to unseat first-term Republican Rep. Robert Dold.

Politico reports: “Progressive groups view Illinois’ 10th as the first true bellwether of the cycle for their cause, even though Washington Democratic operatives privately see it as a difficult district to capture.”

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Sheyman has received backing from a number of members of Congress hailing from the left wing of the Democratic party, while Schneider is backed by House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Schneider has taken heat from Sheyman backer Howard Dean over past donations to Republican candidates. Schneider’s camp defended the giving as related to Israel and amounting to only a small fraction of the candidate’s donations.

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