Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:
IL 10: Rep. Mark Kirk is running for Senate, leaving an open seat.
Primary: February 2, 2010
Location:North Shore, Chicago
Days until the election: 26
(CNN) - According to prominent political analyst Charlie Cook, this is one of the best shots Democrats have to pick up a seat in the House of Representatives. Incumbent Rep. Mark Kirk (R) is running for Senate in Illinois, leaving an open seat in a left-leaning district. Also a bonus to the Dems, their candidate, Dan Seals, has run for this seat twice before and has a base and solid recognition in the district.
But his opponent, Robert Dold, a businessman who owns a pest control company, has some definite advantages on his side as well. First off, it is a tough year to be a Democrat, no matter how blue your district is looking. Secondly, Dold benefits from Kirk's popularity and can use his coattails to his advantage.
Both candidates were tested in tough February primaries (Seals spent $5 million and only won by one percentage point to a candidate who had neither his base nor his name recognition) and now face the difficult task of battling for the allegiance of voters in a district that is socially liberal but has for the past three terms elected a moderate Republican. Seals has supported Democrats on health care, but has walked a careful line on repealing the Bush tax cuts – he opposes the Obama administration on that issue, taking a similar position to Dold.
Dold, meanwhile, has loudly played the ant-Democrat card while emphasizing his more moderate positions on issues like abortion .
Money is tight and in high demand in this expensive media market – and both campaigns are fighting aggressively to fill their coffers. The fundraising race to put ads on the air could make all the difference in this highly-watched, fiercely fought race.