Thursday, March 06, 2008

IL 14th CD, The Story Is, There's A Story

Denny Hastert's retirement left open this seat, a traditional Republican stronghold, he's held since 1987. Incumbency is always a strong factor in winning elections and may have helped Denny hold the seat for all these years, but nobody has seriously threatened him. Dennis was no model of moderate Republicanism. Running under his Party's banner is James D Oberweis. Oberweis has run twice for Senate and once for Governor, the RNC has thrown $1.5 million into holding this seat. A measure of their interest is the fact that it is 1/5th of their money. Oberweis is a dairy owner and founder of financial companies, apparently wealthy enough to pretty much self finance his campaign.

Opposing Oberweis is political novice Bill Foster, a particle physicist and founder of a theatrical lighting company in his younger years. Foster is also wealthy enough to essentially self finance his campaign, the DCCC has thrown $600,000 into the mix. Foster has taken a position as a candidate of change, stressing national health care, end to the Iraq war, and a revision of energy policy. Foster's drawbacks seem to be his campaign style, he is neither electric nor apparently presenting an affable personality.

The special election is conducted Saturday to fill the remainder of Hassert's term which as a Rep's seat to also be contested in November. Both candidates are their Party's nominees for that election. Cook Political Report has this race as a toss-up, that's right, the ex-Speaker of the House Republican seat is up for grabs. There has been a shift in demographics but there also is a wave of enthusiasm for the Democratic Party. This is a story that may have some real national relevance to other races. While the 06 races were seen as a referendum on BushCo, the results were entirely too mixed to show any Party dominance, note the repeated stalemates in the Senate.

These kinds of stories should place right in front of voters the question of Presidential candidate coattails. The campaign for the Presidency gets the national attention, the press coverage and the money. Voters' eyes are on that prize and enthusiasm for a candidate carry over to the Congressional races. Who is it that will carry seats with them. The latest WaPo/ABC poll shows Clinton beating McCain by 6 points and Obama beating him by 12. Polls have lately proved to be of questionable value and their impact on voters limited. If such polls had much meaning to voters John Edwards would have had a much larger impact, since he led by a wide margin in beating Republicans. The fact that this race is a toss-up in a long time Republican district is a story should speak loudly to Democrats, candidates and voters.

1 comment:

KISS said...

Such a dichotomy, Chicago the bastion of crooked dimmo politics and the state harboring, with great pride, the likes of repug Senator Henry Hide and his cabal of god-fearing Hastert.
Much like Portland and our state.