Special to McHenry County Blog by John Lopez
Late last month, Dr. Kent Mercado (R, Bartlett) formally launched his congressional campaign to challenge 8-term Congressman Bill Foster (D, Naperville) in the 2024 election.
Mercado, who’s in his early 60s, plans to challenge the only physicist in Congress by bringing credentials of a medical doctor, lawyer and proven humanitarian record for 11th Congressional District (IL-11) voters to consider in 2024.
Throughout the spring, Dr. Mercado has been visiting with local Republican leaders throughout all 8 counties of IL-11. With roots within the Will County portion of Naperville, where Dr. Mercado and his wife raised their children and ran his business, Dr. & Mrs. Mercado sold their home in Will County in late 2022 and relocated (their children are grown) to Bartlett.
The IL-11 going into the 2024 election cycle has an initial rating of “safe/solid Democrat” from the two major ratings services, Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
Entering the final four weeks of June, which will end the 2nd quarter fundraising which will be filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Dr. Mercado launched his campaign and sent the following letter introducing himself and asking for political contributions, up to the maximum individual contribution of $3,300.
Last Friday night, U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) headlined the Annual Spring Gala of the Lake County Republican Federation in Lincolnshire, and Dr. Mercado attended.
Last month, Congressman Darin LaHood (R, Dunlap) and state Senator Dave Syverson (R, Cherry Valley), both representing portions of McHenry County, had the grand opening of their joint office for constituent services. Dr. Mercado, along with his mother, attended.
Dr. Mercado posted the following on his campaign Facebook page with the pictures from the event:
“An inspiring day at the grand opening of the remarkable combined facility for Congressman Darin Lahood and State Senator Dave Syverson! Joined by my incredible mother, we witnessed a new era of constituent services, where the needs of our community are given utmost importance. Excited to contribute to this exceptional vision as we work towards a brighter future.”
Late last week, political consulting firm Cor Strategies’ founder, Collin Corbett hosted the third episode of his YouTube podcast the Smoke Filled Room (SFR) and Dr. Mercado’s campaign was brought up.
The cued video and the nearly 4 minutes of discussion of IL-11 is below:
The comments from panelists Johnathon Giesecke and Abby Oliver, along with Corbett, brings up a difference concerning Dr. Mercado’s campaign — he’s running a centrist campaign including being pro-choice though unclear if he favors abortion-on-demand, not a conservative to far right campaign.
Corbett alluded to 2022 IL-11 Republican nominee Catalina Lauf (R, Woodstock) as not being a good candidate last fall, and also brought up the “Trump effect” being a significant factor for Lauf’s 12.9 percentage points loss last year, and noting IL-11 had the greatest impact of the “Trump effect” against the Republican nominees running for Congress in the Chicago suburbs.
Whether Dr. Mercado can clear the Republican primary without a credible pro-life conservative candidate entering the Republican field remains to be seen (word-on-the-street says 2022 nominee Lauf will not run for Congress in IL-11 next year). That said, Dr. Mercado doing everything he can do to introduce himself to Republicans across IL-11.
Information can be found on Dr. Mercado’s candidacy at his campaign website.