Foster Beats Oberweis in IL-14

The Democrats have just increased their majority in the House by one:

In a stunning upset Saturday that could be a sign of trouble for Republicans this fall, a little-known Democratic physicist won the special election for a far west suburban congressional seat long held by former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Rookie candidate Bill Foster scored a comfortable victory over Republican dairyman Jim Oberweis, who lost his fourth high-profile contest in six years, after an expensive and highly negative contest.

Foster had 53 percent to Oberweis’ 47 percent with all of the unofficial vote counted.

I’ve put a few additional observations on the outcome of this election over at The Glittering Eye.

Gregory Tejada of Chicago Argus has what I think is pretty sound commentary:

Some Democrats are inclined to think some high-minded goal was achieved with Bill Foster’s victory. “This says there is no district that is going to be safe for Republicans,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told WGN-TV.

I’m not swayed.

FOSTER HAD BETTER be careful, or else he could be the one whose political career lasts little more than filling out the leftover crumbs of retiring Rep. J. Dennis Hastert’s term — which runs through early January 2009. After all, Oberweis has the funding to run a top-notch aggressive campaign, and he has shown a willingness to play political hardball.

That hardball style of campaigning will forevermore be Oberweis’ political legacy — particularly The Commercial.

It was the ad from a past U.S. Senate campaign where he flies over Chicago’s Soldier Field and tries to create the image of capacity crowds of illegal immigrants packing their way into the United States week after week after week.

Chris Cilllizza of The Washington Post’s The Fix quotes a recently released statement from the NRCC:

“The one thing 2008 has shown is that one election in one state does not prove a trend,” said newly installed National Republican Congressional Committee Communications Director Karen Hanretty. “In fact, there has been no national trend this entire election season….The one message coming out of 2008 so far is that what happens today is not a bellwether of what happens this fall.”

which David Kurtz of TPM characterizes as “spin”.

Spin or not Democrats are reasonably considering this as a victory.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Hal says:

    A gut punch doesn’t set the match, but when it takes the wind out of you, and the audience gasps, it’s not exactly good news.

  2. floyd says:

    A “Democratic Physicist”? I sure hope they don’t vote-out “gravity”! Perhaps replacing it with “levity”?
    Plenty of Il Dems are “fizzy-cysts”

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Yes, it’s my understanding that he worked at Argonne National Laboratory. I heard reports during the campaign that, presumably as a proportion of the total spent, more money had been contributed to Foster’s campaign by PhD’s in physics than to any campaign in history.

  4. floyd says:

    “”In a stunning upset Saturday that could be a sign of trouble for Republicans this fall.””

    Nothing “stunning” here! The 14th con district encompasses Aurora, which is now the second largest city in Illinois, due to a huge influx of illegal aliens, which is due in large part to “Governor Blago’s” contempt for the law. This demographic change along with “suburban creep” explains why it is no surprise they would elect a “suburban creep” to office. What is now a “Space Invader’s” style march of suburbia, was quiet farm ground just a decade ago.

  5. yetanotherjohn says:

    This is a clear win for the democrats. And it shows the tilt of the political scene. Oberweis got about 2/3 of the votes in the special election that were cast in the primary election. If those republicans had come out and voted for Oberweis, he would have won, Instead, by staying home, they strengthened Pelosi’s hand.

  6. jeff b says:

    I believe he did work at Argonne, but his great contributions were at Fermilab, which is in the congressional district where Foster was elected. Foster invented a novel photomultiplier circuit which is used by the hundreds of thousands in particle physics experiments everywhere.

  7. superdestroyer says:

    The results of the election demonstrate the legacy of Former Speaker Hastert’s incompetence. He obviously never mentored anyone. The Republicans in Illinois were incapable of recruiting a competent candidate, and they spent money of an incompetent clown who has repeatably embarrassed conservative ideals.

    In the long run, the Republican party cannot remain relevant due to the incompetence of their leaders, changing demographics, leadership failures, and policy failures.

  8. mac says:

    Hastert’s hand-picked replacement was defeated because his corrupt get rich quick scheme known as the Prairie Parkway is falling apart. Hastert earmarked over a quarter billion dollars towards building an interstate highway through his district while the existing roads are crumbling before everybody’s eyes. Hopefully Foster can reallocate the money towards projects that help the citizens drive around the district instead of making a selected few millionaires.

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    Or, said another way, you don’t mind the government picking winners and losers, you just want them to pick different people.

  10. Tlaloc says:

    Or, said another way, you don’t mind the government picking winners and losers, you just want them to pick different people.

    Yes. Except it isn’t a matter of “like” it is a matter of “inevitably they will”.