Mike Fricilone won the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District with ease earlier this month and now faces Marie Newman in the general election.
Newman unseated incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, in the Democratic primary.
Fricilone appears to sense an opportunity to siphon off some swing voters who might be turned off by what he called a "socialist progressive" agenda. He added Republican voters will also have a legitimate "mainstream" choice this time around instead of the party's 2018 nominee, Arthur Jones, who is a self-identified Holocaust denier and former member of the American Nazi Party.
"There have been Republicans that have crossed over in the past that voted for Dan (Lipinski)," Fricilone said. "I don't think that will be the case this time. I don't see how any Republicans are going to vote for Marie Newman."
He cited Newman's endorsements from progressive members of Congress like Sen. Bernie Sanders as evidence her politics may be too far to the left for some voters in the 3rd District.
Still, Newman has the advantage of running in a strongly Democratic district. When Lipinski was running, even during years he wasn't facing a Holocaust denier, he'd win by upwards of 30 percentage points.
Fricilone has served on the Will County Board since 2012 and became the Republican minority leader in 2018.
The 3rd Congressional District includes parts of Crest Hill, Homer Glen, Lemont, Lockport and Romeoville and extends to the southwest side of Chicago.