Cantor on a campaign tailgate Sunday to help GOP vying for Kirk seat

House Minority Whip Rep. Eric CantorEric Ivan Cantor737 crisis tests Boeing's clout in Washington House Republicans find silver lining in minority Top-level turnover sparks questions about Chamber MORE (R-Va.) heads to the Chicago suburbs on Sunday to rally support in a district where Republicans are on the defense.

The No. 2 ranking House GOP lawmaker’s appearance in the Democratic leaning district comes less than two weeks since The Hill released a poll showing GOP candidate Bob Dold trailing in the race to replace outgoing Rep. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkThe global reality behind 'local' problems Dems vow swift action on gun reform next year This week: Trump heads to Capitol Hill MORE (R).

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GOP insiders familiar with the party’s strategy to defend the open seat say that new polling numbers, an influx of cash and a reorganized campaign focus capped by Cantor’s visit point to positive signs for Dold.

Dold is running against Dan Seals, who ran and lost to Kirk in the previous two election cycles. Kirk opted to run for the open Senate seat in the Land of Lincoln instead of defending his House seat.

Cantor will appear at a tailgate on Sunday afternoon in the North Shore district at a Chicago Bears football game, Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring told The Hill.

The visit is designed to pump up Dold volunteers who will help the GOP candidate’s get-out-the-vote effort eight days later.

“Dold is a good candidate. He’s a Young Gun candidate, coming to DC for the right reasons, he wants to get Washington working again, cut spending and remove uncertainty,” Dayspring told The Hill in an interview on Friday afternoon.

Cantor, a prolific fundraiser and attractive GOP face on the trail, has been in high demand as his party attempts to win the needed 39 seats to regain control of the House.

Over the last week alone, Cantor made campaign appearances in several states with challengers from Arizona to Texas and New Mexico.

As the only Jewish House Republican lawmaker, Cantor’s visit in Dold’s district appears to be particularly important, since that district has a large Jewish population, according to a GOP operative.

Republicans have been on the ropes in the district that nonpartisan political handicapper Charlie Cook has rated as a “toss up.”

Obama carried the district in 2008 by 61-38 percent; 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryJam-packed primary poses a serious threat to Democrats in 2020 Romney helps GOP look for new path on climate change Biden leads CNN poll, but Harris, Sanders on the rise MORE won the district 53-47 percent.

Democrats targeted the socially moderate, fiscally conservative district early on in the election cycle, noting that it has been one of very few pick-up opportunities for them this year.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Illinois 10th district seat was “one of the Democrats' top three (pick-up) chances in the country.”

A Democratic political aide laughed off the GOP suggestion that Cantor’s visit was a signal that the tide was turning in favor of Dold.

“It’s ridiculous, they didn’t just wake up and say look, a surge, we ought to start taking this seriously. They’ve been fighting, but they’ve been losing the fight,” the Democratic operative told The Hill.

But Dold’s camp points to recent results of a poll conducted in the district from political survey firm We Ask America that has Dold up by 11 percent.

“Bob Dold is clearly heading into the home stretch of this campaign with the momentum to win,” Dold spokesman John McGovern said in a statement on Oct. 18, on the day the poll was released.

Still, Seals supporters say that it is the first poll in which Dold was ahead, noting that 10 percent of those polled were “unsure” which candidate they would vote for.

Dold supporters also highlight their candidate’s cash on hand advantage. According to the latest quarterly filings on Oct. 15, Dold had over $800,000 cash on hand, compared to Seals’ $270,376.