Illinois 6th Congressional District race is one of many where candidates are preaching to choirs rather than persuading

CHICAGO (CBS) — With just one week to go until Election Day, we’re tracking one of a suburban congressional race that is one of the biggest voters will decide in our area.

In the 6th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Illinois) is being challenged by Republican Keith Pekau, now the mayor of Orland Park. The redrawn district stretches from Elmhurst and Lombard south through Downers Grove and Westmont, then east through Darien and Burr Ridge and south through Oak Lawn, the Palos Township suburbs, Orland Park, and Tinley Park.

As CBS 2’s Chris Tye reported Tuesday night, Casten and Pekau describe each other as extreme. They have wildly different opinions on former President Donald Trump, guns, and abortion.

In this race – and many others across the country – it is an election season where most of the time is spent on voters that candidates already mostly have locked down.

On divisive issues like abortion, Pekau told CBS 2 he agreed with a ban with "exceptions for incest, rape, and life of the mother."

Casten questioned whether Pekau would really support such exceptions, saying, "(Pekau) has claimed he supports exceptions for rape and incest, but that actually doesn’t make any legal sense if you support the Dobbs decision."

On divisive issues like abortion – and those less heated – Pekau and Casten are representative of many candidates across the political spectrum and country who are speaking more and more to a tailor-made audience – those that already agree with them.

"It’s part of a longer pattern," said Jane Ruby – president of the League of Women’s Voters Chicago, a group that describes itself as non-partisan.

Ruby said in the Illinois 6th, Pekau declined their invitation to a candidate forum, which was intended to help voters better understand his views and to contrast them against his opponent.

Tye: "Why are we seeing this new trend of candidates speaking largely to their base?"

Ruby: "It’s very safe to stay within the same rhetoric; to stay within the same group of people who understand. But that’s not what politics is all about."

These two candidates also did not debate. This is uncommon in many races – opponents in many other races across the country have debated once.



The Brookings Institute found that the number of debates in the top five most competitive U.S. Senate races has dropped dramatically. In 2010, there were 17 debates, while this year, there were just six.

Tye: "What’s the net effect of this, do you think, on our politics?"

Ruby: "I think it creates much a more insular environment."

And that is amid a politically heated and particularly partisan cycle.

In full disclosure, both candidates in the Illinois 6th sat down with CBS 2.

They spoke with CBS 2’s Brad Edwards for our CBS News Chicago streaming channel.

You can catch the full interviews later this week.

News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via Local News – CBS Chicago

November 1, 2022 at 10:00PM

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