CHICAGO (CBS) — The battle between incumbent Peter Roskam and Democratic challenger Sean Casten is one of the hottest races, not just in Illinois, but across the country.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley spoke Roskam about everything from the Trump tax cut bill, which he highly supported, to Obamacare.
Blakley: Have residents in your district benefited from the tax rewrite?
Roskam: There’s no question they’ve benefited. They’ve benefited a billion dollars in tax relief to the sixth district alone. PolitiFact evaluated Sean Casten’s claims and they said what he was saying is false, he’s creating an impression that’s false. That people are paying more in taxes. They even said he didn’t get his basic math right.
This is coming from a candidate (Sean Casten) who has said he wants to raise all the tax rates, he wants progressive income tax for the state of Illinois, which has a big target on the sixth district. He wants to raise the gas tax, have no limitation on the payroll tax, have a new carbon tax, and he’s even against a property tax freeze.
So his approach to taxes is the sixth district pays more money and my approach to taxes is the sixth district gets tax relief.
Blakley: Another hot issue – Congressman Roskam’s vote to kill Obamacare. In voting to remove Obamacare, did that not remove protection for preexisitng conditions?
Roskam: The bills I’ve supported have advanced preexisitng conditions protections and I think we’ve got to recognize this is in the context of Sean Casten, admitting he will say anything he needs to say and he will use any means necessary including mischaracterization.
Blakley: Is this election as many people say, a referendum on President Trump?
Roskam: I think civility is on the ballot on November 6 and my opponent has embraced the politics of ridicule. He’s gotten into the name-calling and he adds rhetorical gasoline to the situations and I don’t think that’s what’s the sixth district is interested in. He’s called the Republican party the party of pedophiles. He says Republican donors are morons.
Blakley: What would your closing argument be to your electorate?
Roskam: On the one hand you’ve got someone who by all accounts is civil, respectful has the capacity to work with all political spectrums. Sean Casten, by contrast, the Daily Herald when they editorialized on my behalf, said we’re Roskam for Congress, they said, Sean Casten is not running the type of campaign that demonstrates he had any capacity to work on a bipartisan basis.
This is a season where we really need bipartisanship.
Blakley’s Takeaway: The one thing that’s unavoidable here is how the Trump factor will play out in this district. Peter Roskam has taken care not to criticize President Trump too often or too harshly, while also avoiding his harsh rhetoric.
Sean Casten has been an outspoken critic of the president. The sixth congressional district rejected Trump two years ago while re-electing Roskam. This time, Roskam’s hoping voters dislike for Trump, won’t rub off on him.