Monday, March 10, 2008
Earthquake in Illinois
A major upset occurred here Saturday in the special election for the 14th District Congressional seat recently vacated by former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. This seat, which has been staunchly Republican for decades now, was just won by Democrat Bill Foster, a Fermilab scientist and business owner.

This is huge. For a district like this to turn blue is a major statement about how fed up people are with the GOP right now. Of course there were other factors that led to Foster's win, especially the fact that many people really couldn't stand Foster's oppenent, perrenial candidate and dairy magnate Jim Oberweis, but nonetheless, this says something about where the political landscape is headed these days.

Personally I'm happy Oberweis lost, and I think Foster will do a decent job, however he was not my first choice. Foster is a moderate, Blue Dog Democrat, and as such, is not really as progressive as I am personally. Plus he is more loyal to the Democratic party than I would like, having expressed a willingness to just go along with the party and not give much push back. I had supported his opponent John Laesch in the Democratic Primary instead. John is a personal friend, and in my opinion, is driven more by his values and ideals and less by fidelity to the party line. Plus Laesch is a different kind of politician, relying on grassroots networks of supporters rather than high dollar attack ads and mailings. In fact John managed to get nearly the same amount of votes as Foster in the primary election while spending only 1/7th of the cash that Foster put out (John only lost by just over 300 votes, out of over 70,000 cast). And he did this with absolutely zero support from the DCCC, who preferred the wealthy scientist willing to put up $2 million of his own money to the grassroots, union carpenter who wasn't willing or able to simply buy his nomination.

Not that I am trashing Foster. Let me be clear that he is a far better alternative than Oberweis, one of the nastiest wannabe politicians I've yet encountered. His vitriolic and just plain false attack ads against not just Foster but even his Republican challenger in the primary were downright ugly. Nonetheless, I was disappointed in this election to once again be casting a vote primarily against someone, rather than for someone I could really get excited about.

At any rate, if this election was a foreshadowing of how things will go in November, the Republicans could be in for a really rough time. It will be interesting to watch at any rate.


posted by Mike Clawson at 5:49 PM | Permalink |


At 3/14/2008 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Derek Berner

I'm just tickled by the fact that there is now a congressperson who can program computers. In assembly no less. From my birth state no less!

He can also code in Visual Basic, but heck, we were all young once.


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