Bill Foster has beaten Jim Oberweis for Denny Hastert’s old seat in the Illinois 14th District:
CHICAGO — Stunning many who considered the district west of Chicago reliably Republican territory, Bill Foster, a physicist and Democrat, won a special election on Saturday to fill the Congressional seat that J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House, held for two decades.
Mr. Foster’s success deeply disappointed Republicans, in part for its broader implications: the victory in this early race may buoy Democrats as they look ahead to a string of Republican retirements this fall.
Mr. Hastert was one of the best-known Republican members of Congress and he was elected from what was once a Republican stronghold.
Mr. Foster defeated James D. Oberweis, a dairy company owner, in a contest for the 14th Congressional district, a long swath that runs from the far western suburbs of Chicago nearly to the state’s Iowa border. He will fill the remaining months of Mr. Hastert’s term.
Mr. Foster won with 53 percent of the vote, while Mr. Oberweis had 47 percent, The Associated Press reported.
While this is a triumph that Democrats will certainly and reasonably be trumpeting, I think we should be cautious about drawing too many conclusions from the results of this special election. Politics continues to be local and candidates matter.
The demographics of the Illinois 14th District have been changing in recent years, becoming increasingly Hispanic for one thing. Bill Foster seems like a smart, sensible guy and Jim Oberweis, well, doesn’t. He seems like an abrasive son-of-a-gun with some frankly looney positions. The Illinois Republican Party continues on its mad downward spiral, running poor candidates.
I look forward to Rick Moran of Right Wing Nut House’s comments on this outcome since the IL-14 is in his general area.
Meanwhile, congratulations to the victor, here’s to hoping we don’t have Jim Oberweis to kick around any more, and the Democrats’ House majority has just grown by one.