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Sunday, March 9, 2008
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Back in November, former Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert, resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives, leaving his the 14th District of Illinois having to hold a special election to fill out his term. Yesterday that election was held, and the seat went to a Democrat:

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.

Just to put that in context, here are some of the most recent totals for Il-14 (1996-2006):1

  • 2006: Hastert won 60%-40%
  • 2004: Hastert won 69%-31%
  • 2002: Hastert won 74%-26%

  • 2000: Hastert won 74%-26%
  • 1998: Hastert won 70%-30%
  • 1996: Hastert won 64.39%-35.60%

In short: it’s been a pretty darn red district for some time.2 As such, it is not the best sign for the GOP to be losing such a seat, although one must allow that a specific special election is not predictive of future outcomes. Still, this is not the kind of news the RNC wants to hear.

Others commenting upon the results:

Sphere: Related Content

  1. Sources: CNN for 1998-2006, Wikipedia for 1996 (yes, Wikipedia) []
  2. As a child of the Cold War, I still find it pretty amusing/incongruous to refer to Republican (if not any US party) district as “red” []
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Filed under: US Politics | |

5 Comments

  1. Something in the air

    The Democratic wind across America is pretty stiff this spring, as we already knew from the dramatically higher turnout in its primaries than in those of the ruling party. Now the Democrats have picked up the seat of retired former House Speaker Dennis…

    Trackback by Fruits and Votes — Sunday, March 9, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  2. Re fn2: I try to avoid ever using the red/blue thing. Of course, the more right-wing major party should be blue and the more left-wing red. That’s the way it is almost everywhere else.

    On the other hand, there is nothing very “red” about the Dems.* Still, it is my understanding that at some point Dems objected to the association with red, so the media complied by switching the colors. It was after the Cold War, so evidently Republicans didn’t care as much about the association as Democrats did.

    __
    * Though Republicans do make me feel very blue. OK, so when do we get WP-footnotes for comments. :-)

    Comment by MSS — Sunday, March 9, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  3. A few notes from the ground (I recently moved to IL-14 from MI): Oberweiss has very high negatives (49% in the poll I looked at), and local repubs don’t really seem to like him (his main primary opponent, state assemblyman ?Chris? Lauzen, had less name recognition).

    Oberweiss is also seem as a perennial rich-guy candidate who just wants a seat for it’s ow sake. It didn’t help that pursued a scorched-earth campaign, thereby turning off Lauzen (who never endorsed him after the primary) and almost certainly some of Lauzen’s supporters (in fairness it was an ugly campaign on both sides).

    It’s possible this district would have switched anyway, but the margin would have been far different with a better candidate and a far more civil primary.

    Disclaimer: I didn’t vote, as I was/am still registered in MI.

    Comment by Li — Sunday, March 9, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  4. [...] Bill! Foster! Is! Making! Big! News! These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

    Pingback by /weblog › Bill Foster! — Monday, March 10, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  5. [...] As noted a few days ago, the Democrats won Denny Hastert’s old seat in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District. David Weigel sheds some light on the loser, which helps explain the outcome to some degree. [...]

    Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Back to the IL14 — Tuesday, March 11, 2008 @ 10:00 am

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