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What Roskam’s Tuesday night means for Republicans nationwide

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02.11.2018

Republican Rep. Peter Roskam’s re-election campaign has taken him to a conference room at the Downers Grove headquarters of Elkay Manufacturing, maker of sinks, faucets and kitchen cabinets.

An Elkay executive tells Roskam that the GOP tax cut has enabled the company to increase investment and give workers a bonus. Still, it is difficult to find help in a tight labor market where many young people shun factory employment. Elkay has to work with schools, businesses and community groups to train and motivate a future workforce. “It takes a village,” the executive remarks, as Roskam nods.

Later, Roskam laughs as he acknowledges having quietly tolerated his constituent’s invocation of a catchphrase associated with Democrat Hillary Clinton. “Why antagonize?” he says.

That summarizes Roskam’s political predicament as he tries to secure a seventh term in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, which sprawls like a giant letter “C” across generally affluent western suburbs.

A bastion of genteel “country-club Republicanism” — the median household earned nearly $100,000 in 2017; there are 19 golf courses within the district’s largest county, DuPage — the 6th District has been sending GOP representatives to Washington since 1972. Most of that time, it was pro-life icon Henry J. Hyde, until Hyde retired and Roskam won a race........

© Chicago Tribune