Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

A Proxy War in Illinois

This Saturday, voters in Illinois' 14th district will go to the polls to choose a replacement for a political institution, former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Hastert won't be on the ballot, nor will Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Barack Obama (D-Ill.). But all three men have something riding on the outcome.

The special election contest to fill out the remainder of Hastert's term is between scientist Bill Foster (D) and dairy magnate Jim Oberweis (R), and both candidates have eagerly sought the help of their parties' presidential hopefuls.

On Tuesday, Foster released a new ad featuring home-state favorite son Obama. "You may think you have to wait until November to vote for change, but here in Illinois you can start Saturday, March 8," Obama says in the spot, adding that he's endorsed Foster "because he represents the change we need."

McCain, meanwhile, hasn't cut any ads for Foster, but the Arizonan did headline a Feb. 20 fundraiser for Oberweis in Sugar Grove, Ill. The event netted more than $250,000 for the Oberweis campaign. And in an appearance that day with McCain at Aurora Municipal Airport, Oberweis sought to link his Democratic opponent to McCain's.

"Whether the name is Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or Bill Foster, the Democrats' agenda is clear: bigger government, higher taxes, more power flowing to Washington ... raising the white flag and immediate withdrawal from Iraq ... a big government takeover of health care ... amnesty and government benefits for 10 million illegal immigrants," Oberweis said.

While the seat should be reliably Republican, polls have shown the contest to be extremely tight, drawing heavy interest - and spending - from Washington, D.C. Through Tuesday, the National Republican Congressional Committee had spent more than $1.2 million on the race, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent just over $1 million as, the biggest chunk coming in $346,000 worth of ad buys on Monday.

For Obama, the race represents a chance for him to show off some coattails and burnish his image as someone who can help Democrats win even in red districts.

McCain is facing off against an Illinois hero, and beyond the fundraiser has not put his full political might behind Oberweis' campaign. But Republicans do hope their presumptive presidential nominee can help draw moderates and independents to their candidates downballot.

"I don't know that he can trump Obama there [in Illinois], but I think he helps us in every district," said NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.).

Much more so than McCain, the GOP luminary who really has something to lose in this contest is Hastert. The former Speaker took a risk by resigning last year rather than serving out the 110th Congress, since special elections are unpredictable and expensive.

Hastert also took a gamble by throwing the full weight of his endorsement and his political operation behind Oberweis during the GOP primary. Though Oberweis has run and lost multiple campaigns before, Hastert preferred him to state Sen. Chris Lauzen (R), with whom Hastert has had a long-running feud. If Oberweis flames out, some Republicans may wonder whether Hastert backed the wrong horse.

"McCain is fine but the guy who can motivate people is Denny Hastert," said Illinois Rep. Ray LaHood (R). "What an embarrassment for him if Foster wins. He has a lot at stake."

By Ben Pershing  |  March 6, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Democrats Struggle With Ethics Bill
Next: Player of the Week: Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Comments

you make me sick

Posted by: k | March 7, 2008 1:57 AM | Report abuse

BUY TWO GET ONE FREE.
Apple Iphone 16gb$400usd
Apple Iphone 8GB.. $250
Apple Iphone 4gb ...$180
Sidekick phones:
Sidekick 3 ....USD$120
Sidekick ID.....USD$120
Sidekick LX....USD$170

Nokia Phones
Nokia N95 $280 8GB
Nokia N96 $500usd
Nokia 8800 Arte Duo...$250USD
Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition ..$250

Email(munsa_maliquk@yahoo.com)
(Harrisson_mag@hotmail.com)
Regards
Management

Posted by: munsa | March 30, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company