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Bean has plenty of challengers -- and not just from the GOP
By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/3/2009 5:05 PM

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It's not just Republicans who want to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean of Barrington.

The three-term congresswoman also is facing challenges from the political left, including one from within her own party.

In all, eight candidates hope to knock Bean out of Congress and replace her as the representative for Illinois' 8th District. Most are political newcomers.

Neither Bean, who is seeking re-election, nor a spokesman wanted to comment on the challenges. Some of the other candidates, however, said the unusually large number of political hopefuls indicates a growing dissatisfaction with Bean and with Congress in general.

"That's the way our system is designed," said Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez, one of six Republicans eyeing Bean's seat. "Individuals are encouraged to step forward and say why they could do a better job."

The 8th District includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.

In addition to Rodriguez, the Republicans seeking the GOP nomination are: Dirk W. Beveridge of Barrington; John Dawson of Barrington; Christopher Geissler of Barrington; Gregory Jacobs of Mundelein; and Joe Walsh of Winnetka.

The six Republican hopefuls will face off in the Feb. 2, 2010 primary election. One will proceed to the Nov. 2, 2010 general election.

Of the current crowded Republican field, only Rodriguez and Dawson - a former Crystal Lake High School District 155 board member - have held public office.

The number of Republican candidates is double the total that ran for the nomination in 2008. Steve Greenberg won the GOP nod that year and eventually lost to Bean in the general election.

On the other side of the aisle, Woodstock resident Jonathan Farnick is set to challenge Bean in the Democratic primary.

Farnick briefly toyed with a congressional bid in 2007 but dropped out before the primary. He unsuccessfully ran as a write-in candidate for Bean's seat in the 2006 general election.

Farnick could not be reached for comment.

And what would an 8th District race be without a member of the Scheurer family?

Lindenhurst resident Bill Scheurer, who unsuccessfully ran against Bean in 2004 as a Democrat and in 2006 as a member of the Moderate Party he created, is back. This time he's running under the Green Party banner.

Last year, Scheurer's wife, Randi, lost to Bean in the Democratic primary. Both Scheurers have run poorly funded campaigns that primarily stressed anti-war messages.

In a November 2008 interview with the Daily Herald, Bill Scheurer said his goal wasn't necessarily to win but to shed light on issues he felt weren't being addressed by the more prominent candidates.

The same is true this year, he said. The Republican and Democratic nominees will be virtually indistinguishable on most issues, he said.

"It's really about choice (and) democracy," Scheurer explained.

The 8th District isn't the only one with a healthy supply of candidates. In the neighboring 10th District, 12 candidates are running to replace Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, who's campaigning for Senate.

So many people are entering politics because they're interested in what's happening and want to be part of the process, Republican candidate Geissler said.

"There's a sense of frustration, a sense of disappointment and a sense of wanting to be part of the solution," he said.