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Dan Seals (Illinois politician)


Dan Seals (Illinois politician)

Dan Seals
Born Daniel Joseph Seals
(1971-06-19) June 19, 1971 (age 43)
Chicago, Illinois
Residence Wilmette, Illinois
Alma mater University of Chicago (MBA)
Johns Hopkins University (M.A.)
Boston University (B.A.)
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mia Seals
Dan Seals for Congress

Daniel Joseph Seals (born June 19, 1971) is an American business consultant and a Democratic politician from Illinois. Seals was the Democratic nominee in three campaigns to become U.S. Representative for Illinois's 10th congressional district. The first two times he was defeated by the incumbent Mark Kirk. In his third run, he was defeated by Republican candidate, Robert Dold, on November 2, 2010 for the seat Kirk was vacating.

Early life, education and career

Daniel Joseph Seals was born on June 19, 1971 in Chicago, Illinois to George Seals, a former Chicago Bears football player, and a social worker. Both of his parents are of mixed-raced ancestry.[1] His parents divorced and Seals was primarily raised by his mother in Hyde Park. He graduated from Kenwood Academy High School in 1989. He holds a bachelors degree in Journalism from Boston University, a masters degree in International Economics and Japanese Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He and his wife Mia live in Wilmette with their three daughters.[2]

After receiving his bachelors degree Seals taught English in Japan from 1993 to 1995. From 1997 to 1998 he was a Presidential Management Intern (PMI), working as an aide to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce and as an aide to Senator Joe Lieberman. He worked in marketing at Sprint from 2001 to 2003 and was Director of Marketing with General Electric Commercial Finance from 2003 until he took a leave of absence to run for Congress in 2005.

In 2009, Seals did consulting work for Civic Consulting Alliance and The Point, an online service that helps charities and public campaigns with fundraising. He also served as a lecturer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.[3]

In 2011, Seals was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to be Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.[4]

Campaign history

2006 U.S. Representative campaign

Seals ran against Winnetka attorney and former Park Board Commissioner Zane Smith for the Democratic nomination in the 10th Congressional district. Smith highlighted Seals' lack of experience in prior elected office and his location outside the 10th district boundary.[5] Ultimately the better financed[6] Seals prevailed, winning 71% to 29%.[7]

Following his primary win Seals faced the sitting Congressman, Mark Kirk. He focused on popular dissatisfaction with the Iraq war and numerous Republican scandals. He also claimed Kirk was a partisan Republican who voted with the Republican majority 80% of the time. Kirk focused on local issues and argued that he broke from the Republican Party on several issues such as gun control, stem cell research and abortion.[8] Seals came closer than previous Democratic candidates, but ultimately lost to Kirk 53% to 47%.[7]

After his 2006 loss to Kirk, Seals listed his occupation as "business consultant". He also taught a course in public policy at Northwestern University school for continuing education in the spring of 2008.[2]

2008 U.S. Representative campaign

Seals announced in June 2007 that he would be running for Congress in the 10th district again. In the primary election he faced Jay Footlik, a former Clinton administration official. Seals was endorsed by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin.[9] Footlik raised the residency issue again during an Chicago Tribune editorial board interview, to which Seals replied: "If I was a millionaire I could certainly just pick up and buy a new home, [but] I'm not a millionaire, and if you want more millionaires in Congress, I'm not your man."[10] The United States Constitution requires that candidates for Congress be residents of the state from which they are elected, but does not require district residency. Seals' home lies 0.3 miles outside of the 10th district, in the 9th which is represented by Jan Schakowsky. Footlik contended that Seals didn't deserve another chance because he lost to Kirk by six points in a good Democratic year, while Seals argued he had superior name recognition.[11] On February 5, 2008 Seals won the primary with 81% of the vote.[7]

Kirk and Seals both raised considerable sums of money.[12]

In the general election, Seals was unable to improve on his 2006 performance, losing the election to Kirk 53% to 47%.[7]

Following the 2008 general election, it was reported that Seals was being considered by Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn to replace Barack Obama in the United States Senate if Governor Rod Blagojevich were to be removed from office.[13]

2010 U.S. Representative campaign

In July 2009, Seals ran again for the Democratic nomination to become Congressman for Illinois's 10th congressional district following Kirk's announcement that he would retire to run for U. S. Senate. Seals narrowly defeated state legislator Julie Hamos in the Democratic race,[14] and was the Democratic nominee to run against Republican Bob Dold in the 2010 General Election.[15]

Seals was endorsed for the General Election campaign by the Joint Action Committee (JACPAC) which supports a strong US-Israel relationship; pro-choice organizations NARAL and Planned Parenthood; environmental organizations Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters; and labor unions including Illinois Federation of Teachers, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, SEIU, UAW Region 4, Illinois AFL-CIO and Communications Workers of District 4.[16] In prior election cycles, Seals' previous opponent Rep. Mark Kirk had been endorsed by Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Planned Parenthood.[17][18]

In October, Seals was endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times[19] and suburban newspapers the Daily Herald,[20] Lake County News-Sun,[21] and Pioneer Press[22]

Seals lost to Bob Dold (R-Kenilworth) 51%-49%.


External links

  • Dan Seals for U.S. Congress official campaign site
  • Project Vote Smart
  • Federal Election Commission
  • C-SPAN programs
  • Tenth Congressional District Democrats
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